Have you ever thought about switching careers and trying your hand at something new? In today’s dynamic and rapidly changing job market, it’s becoming more and more common for people to explore new opportunities across new and varying industries. Recently, the Canberra Cyber Hub spoke with Chloe Choy of MF & Associates on her move from management consulting to cyber security.
With a background in international business and management consulting, cyber security wasn’t always on the cards for Chloe. Despite having no prior experience in the field, Chloe took a leap of faith and decided to pursue a career in cyber, and she hasn’t looked back since. In this interview, we delve into Chloe’s journey, exploring the reasons behind her decision to change careers, the resources she utilised, and the essential skills and attributes required for anyone interested in pursuing a career in cyber.
What was your career prior to transitioning to cyber and what inspired you to make the change?
My studies and early work experience were unrelated to cyber security. I initially started out studying international business before switching to a double degree in Commerce and Asian studies, where I completed a major in gender studies, culture, and technology in Asia. After that, I moved into people advisory services in management consulting.
It wasn’t until I had fallen for a phishing email at university that I realised how little I knew about cyber security. That’s when I decided to join the industry, determined to improve my understanding of the field.
What skills and resources did you find useful when transitioning into your new career? Did you leverage existing skills, or did you upskill through an education provider?
A career shift can be intimidating, especially early on in one’s career like it was for me. I was fortunate to have great mentors I could reach out to for advice and guidance. Shortly after switching industries, I completed a graduate certificate in cyber security and networking, which strengthened my foundational knowledge in the area. From there onwards, deep dives into documentation paired with lots of Googling was the way to go.
It was difficult at first, my personal life took a backstep as I was trying to manage everything, everywhere, all at once. I was frequently staying back late after work for additional study and research, sometimes even until late at night. Scheduling virtual classes helped as I was able to disconnect and take a break at the end of the day. With time, managing everything became a lot easier.
What skills, personal attributes and advice would you suggest for individuals considering a career transition into cyber security?
Open-mindedness is the key! Technology moves at a rapid pace, and the cyber industry is much broader than you expect. There are plenty of roles outside of the stereotypical hackers and penetration testers who work in governance, risk, and compliance. If you have the willingness to learn, just apply because you never know where your next door will lead to.