From Paralegal to Cyber Security
Before she was inspired to go into information security, Annette Reed was a paralegal for 10 years. After researching the profession for months, she knew she wanted to make it her career.
She proceeded to hire a career coach who told her about the Information Systems Security Profesional program. This new knowledge further led her to realize her strong inclination towards this field.
Previously, Annette worked on security cases and was able to have a first-hand look on the impact of how a lack of security and privacy policies resulted in litigation. It was through these cases her curiosity grew and she became fascinated by the practices within the world of information security, seeing how it impacted all aspects of professional and personal lives.
In 2016, Annette attended the January Open House at KSU Center to gather as much information as possible. She said, “I knew I was going to need more than a crash course on the subject in order for me to succeed.” It was there she decided the ISSP program was best suited for her because it would allow ample time to learn the material.
During the course, Annette was able to receive a well-rounded experience through the small class atmosphere of her peers and her instructor, Dr. Humayun Zafar. She said, “The ISSP program allowed me to focus more deeply on the subject matter while also allowing me to have access to a professional who works in the Information Security industry.”
She said he successfully combined the study content with real-world examples, making the material accessible and memorable. “The ability to ask questions in class in ‘real time,’ interact with my classmates and learn about the real issues they faced in their jobs as IT professionals was of great benefit to someone that has not yet worked in an IT department,” she said.
Annette said Humayun helped to push past difficult material by creating interactive practice test games in the classroom. This allowed for her and her peers to have fun and bring in some “friendly classroom competition.”
Annette did well on the mock final exam for the course. She dedicated much of her time to studying with the help of the ISSP class and the CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional) Common Book of Knowledge. The questions on the test resembled the way the CISSP exam questions are worded.
The mock final exam gave Annette the exposure and the confidence to succeed on the certification exam which she passed on the first attempt. She said, “It also helped to reinforce that someone who has not yet worked in IT can do well on this type of demanding certification.”
Inspired by her young child, Annette would like to focus on security awareness and education aspects of cyber security. She wants to bring the knowledge of information security practices to school to teach children how to use media safely and responsibly and also how to protect themselves online.
Interested in this program? “Do it!” Annette said, “Invest in yourself and your career. Build your network, use your resources wisely and pay it forward.”
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