Usman Sikander: Mechanical Engineer to Cybersecurity Analyst
“I am most proud of the growth and progress I have achieved. Each milestone is a testament to my dedication and passion for Cybersecurity.”
Usman Sikander, a May 2021 Cybersecurity Analytics* graduate from Flatiron School, began his career in mechanical engineering. Eventually, an interest in the digital world of cybersecurity led him to tech.
He shares his journey from Mechanical Engineer to Cybersecurity Analyst below.
Usman Sikander began his career with a mechanical engineering degree and spent 7 years in the field. He cites an interest in mechanics and the field’s many applications as his reasons for initially selecting the career path.
“[I was] drawn to mechanical engineering due to a passion for understanding how things work, problem-solving, and a desire to contribute to technological advancements,” he said. “Mechanical engineers have the opportunity to design, analyze, and improve mechanical systems and processes across various industries, ranging from automotive and aerospace to energy and manufacturing.”
But, despite the many reasons he cited for pursuing mechanical engineering, Usman felt pulled to the technology industry and cybersecurity.
“I was drawn to the field […] due to its dynamic nature and the ever-growing importance of securing digital assets in our increasingly connected world,” he explained. “The constant evolution of technology presents both opportunities and challenges. I was captivated by the idea of playing a crucial role in safeguarding sensitive information and defending against cyber threats.”
His Bootcamp Experience
Having set his eyes on a career in cybersecurity, Usman enrolled in Flatiron School’s full-time Cybersecurity Analytics program. An intensive course, it is designed to equip students with the foundational skills needed to break into the Cybersecurity industry.
“[I was] drawn to Flatiron School’s reputation for providing comprehensive and practical training in the field of cybersecurity. [My goal was] to gain expertise in areas such as threat detection, vulnerability assessment, incident response, and security operations […] and leverage the program to launch a successful career in cybersecurity and contribute to protecting organizations from cyber threats.”
Initially, Usman found the transition to learning in an accelerated bootcamp format challenging.
“The program’s rigorous curriculum demanded a high level of analytical thinking, problem-solving, and attention to detail, which [was a challenge],” he said. “However, these difficulties ultimately contributed to my growth and development as a cybersecurity professional, equipping me with the necessary skills to navigate and address the dynamic landscape of cybersecurity effectively.”
As he progressed through the program, however, Usman found what he liked most about the experience – the students he learned alongside.
“One of the most enjoyable aspects of the program was the opportunity to engage with fellow students hailing from diverse geographical backgrounds.”
Usman also recalls appreciating the interactive nature of the program’s instruction – helping him develop real-world, applicable skills quickly.
“The program’s exceptional instructors assigned hands-on projects that effectively translated theoretical concepts into practical applications, mirroring real-life scenarios encountered in professional work environments,” he said. “These experiences fostered a deeper understanding of the problems at hand and enhanced the learning process significantly.”
Usman graduated from Flatiron School in May 2021. To land an opportunity in the “vast and rapidly evolving” field of Cybersecurity, he worked closely with his Flatiron School Career Coach to implement a “strategic” approach to the job search.
“We developed a targeted job search strategy tailored to the cybersecurity field. They provided valuable insights, guidance, and resources to enhance my resume, refine my interview skills, and build a professional network,” he explained. “Their expertise in the industry helped me navigate the job market, identify suitable opportunities, and effectively showcase my skills and qualifications.”
Thanks to this intentional approach, Usman landed his first role just weeks after graduation.
“With [my coach’s] support, I was able to secure my first tech job in the cybersecurity field, allowing me to kick-start my career and fulfill my passion for protecting digital assets and combating cyber threats.”
Working In The Field
When we spoke with Usman in June 2023, he’d been working as a Cybersecurity Analyst and White Hat Hacker at Warehouse Services, Inc. for just under 2 years. He has only good things to say about his new career.
“Working in cybersecurity has been a fulfilling and exciting experience. The opportunity to protect organizations and individuals from cyber threats, analyze vulnerabilities, and develop robust security strategies is deeply satisfying. The reality of the field certainly lives up to the initial allure and expectations.”
But, the reality of working in the field, he added, means that his cybersecurity education will never truly be completed.
“[Cybersecurity] requires continuous learning and adaptation due to the rapidly evolving nature of cyber threats. It offers a dynamic and ever-evolving landscape that constantly challenges me to stay updated with the latest threats and security measures,” he explained. “Overall, working in cybersecurity is an intellectually stimulating and impactful career path that allows me to make a meaningful contribution in the digital realm.”
Reflecting On His Journey
Looking back on where he began, Usman is proud of the changes he’s made through hard work and dedication.
“I am most proud of the growth and progress I have achieved in the field of cybersecurity. From acquiring the necessary technical skills to successfully transitioning into a professional role, each milestone has been a testament to my dedication and passion for the field.”
As for his advice to other cybersecurity students, he recommends leaning into the process and seeking out opportunities to learn.
“Fully immerse yourself in the learning experience. Take advantage of all the resources and support available. Engage in networking opportunities, and actively participate in group projects and discussions. Seek out internships or real-world experiences [and embrace a growth mindset. Be resilient in the face of challenges, and never stop exploring and expanding your knowledge and skill set.”
Ready For A Change, Just Like Usman Sikander?
*Cybersecurity Analytics program is no longer available. For prospective students interested in this course of study, visit the Cybersecurity course page to learn more.
Disclaimer: The information in this blog is current as of August 25, 2023. Current policies, offerings, procedures, and programs may differ.
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