From Civil Engineering to Cyber Security, How this Cyber Security Bootcamp Grad Transitioned Careers at 35 Deciding to reskill is a daunting decision, especially if you have already dedicated a period of your life to a certain career. But nothing compares to the feeling of finally landing that job in a field that excites you and encourages you to grow. The demand for cyber security professionals is growing, with cyber security firms having to recruit approximately 10% more trained professionals annually in the foreseeable future. Once you are trained, it opens up so many doors in the tech world, allowing you to tap into this lucrative career path.

We are sharing the inspiring story of a recent graduate who has embarked on the Bootcamp journey at Lighthouse Labs. Meenu, like many others in their 20s and 30s, was exploring a career path that would suit her strengths and passions. From a career in civil engineering to French language instruction and then to cyber security - join us as we dive into Meenu’s career transition into tech.

Meenu was accepted into the Cyber Security Bootcamp at Lighthouse Labs as part of the ICT Boost Initiative, an impact initiative led by Lighthouse Labs funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program. This program empowers and supports Canada's growing tech sector by removing barriers and equipping individuals from equity-deserving communities with the necessary skills and training to launch their careers in tech.

Before Studying With Lighthouse Labs

Before enrolling in Lighthouse Labs’ Cyber Security bootcamp, Meenu was a civil engineer in India who later became a French teacher. When she immigrated to Canada, she knew it would be difficult to restart a career in civil engineering again. She first gained work experience as a customer service representative in the banking industry. However, she was not satisfied with stagnant entry-level positions, so she sought a stable career in a growing industry that offered career advancement opportunities. Determined to forge a new path, Meenu fearlessly decided to pivot careers and embraced the world of cyber security.

Finding Inspiration to Return to School

"A career transition in tech was on my mind for a long time. Cyber security is an ever-growing industry, and I wanted a career that could provide me with some kind of stability."

During the pandemic, cybercrime skyrocketed as many businesses became digitized. The financial implications of a data breach are astronomical, with the average data breach in Canada costing more than $5.6 million CAD. There were 305 reports of ransomware attacks last year, up from 295 attacks the year before. Companies including Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children and Indigo, have all fallen victim to these attacks, stressing the urgent need for cyber security professionals to help protect company data from fraudsters. With one in six cyber security jobs unfilled in Canada, now is the time to jump-start your career in this ever-growing industry.

After hearing the countless stories of her clients in the banking industry falling for scams and fraud, Meenu realized how massive this issue is and wanted to do more to help. She saw this as an opportunity to enter the tech sector as a cyber security professional, where she could use her existing skills and experience to kick-start her career.

The average cyber security analyst starts their career making about $67,667 per year in Canada and $75,804 per year in the US. Mid-career cyber security analysts make $79,000 on average in Canada and $78,000+ in the US. These roles also boast incredible job security and growth outlook.

Here are some of the cyber jobs you can expect to land at the entry-level stage:

  • Security Analyst
  • Implementation Specialist
  • Technical Support Specialist
  • Security Researcher
  • Business Systems Analyst

Did your mindset about your future goals change when you heard about the ICT Boost Initiative?

"Yes, definitely. I didn't have enough resources to start the bootcamp immediately because I'm a newcomer to Canada. During my interview with a Lighthouse Labs Learning Advisor, I learned about the ICT Boost Initiative. When I discovered I was eligible for the funding, it encouraged me to take the leap of faith and jump into cyber security."

At Lighthouse Labs, we offer a diverse range of financing options to facilitate the funding of your education. Had Meenu forgone her attendance at her interview, she would have missed the invaluable opportunity to discover this funding option. To ensure finances are not a barrier in your decision, incoming students can ask questions about the financing options available during the interview stage with their Learning Advisor. We're here to help you in your learning journey.

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The Lighthouse Labs Bootcamp Experience

As Meenu began her learning journey, she was introduced to mentorship at Lighthouse Labs. The diverse team of mentors are industry professionals who can help students with both technical and non-technical questions. They coach students through tough coding, data, or cyber-related problems, as well as share tips for job interviews, professional presentations, and how to communicate their concerns clearly. Mirroring a workplace relationship between a junior and a technical lead, students can reach out to receive 1:1 support.

Like many others transitioning into a completely new career, Meenu’s learning curve was steep, and she faced challenges. Whenever doubts arose, or fears crept in, Meenu reached out to her mentors to ask questions, empowering her to approach her challenges head-on.

"Whenever you feel that you are stuck and you don't understand something, you can always reach out. And I have always done that. By taking that first step - getting help, that allowed me to succeed."

At Lighthouse Labs, our mentors play a very important role in our bootcamps. They empower students like Meenu to take charge of their learning journey by providing guidance through the intensive curriculum. The program offers support during job hunts and empowers students to grow their professional networks, preparing them for successful careers in the tech industry.

Advice for Those Considering Enrolling in Bootcamp

After completing Lighthouse Labs’ Cyber Security Bootcamp, Meenu has some advice for others considering making a career transition into tech. Reflecting on her experience, she recognizes the value of her decision and wants to share her advice. “I would say it is never too late,” says Meenu. “I'm 35 years old today and receiving my diploma in cyber security, looking for a career change.” The program is not an easy feat, but Meenu says all her past experiences in her teaching and engineering careers have led to her success in the Cyber Security Bootcamp. So trust that all your previous experiences will help you build the future you want, she says.

While the ICT Boost Initiative is now full and no longer accepting applications to the fully funded program, Lighthouse Labs continues to make tech-enabled change a source of opportunity for all by offering a range of funding options to help students finance their learning journey. Read about how you can finance your career transition to tech in the Financial Guide here. Ready to launch your very own tech career? Apply now to take the first step.

Fully Funded Reskilling opportunities offered as part of the ICT Boost Initiative. Funded in part by the Government of Canada’s Sectoral Workforce Solutions Program.