Making an Intelligent Career Change: Rajiv Ahuja’s Fulfilling Path to Cybersecurity
Until recently, Rajiv Ahuja spent his entire career working in client management, but on the side, he had been pursuing furthering his education in technology. Fascinated by the evolving field and endless learning opportunities it provided, Rajiv was always searching for online courses and training programs that would quench his thirst for knowledge.
Even with a couple of online courses under his belt — one in IT management and another in computer programming — he found himself without the proper experience to apply technical skills in the field. Rajiv reached out to a program manager at UofT SCS Cybersecurity Boot Camp and decided to finally commit himself to jump-starting a career in his lifelong field of interest.
Hear from Rajiv about his boot camp journey and the path it led him to today.
What inspired you to choose UofT SCS Cybersecurity Boot Camp in particular?
I was trying to spark a career change but had no technical work experience, so I wanted a program that offered that. This program had plenty of hands-on training opportunities, along with the cybersecurity-specific components I was looking for. I spoke with a program manager who assured me that the program was designed specifically for people seeking a career change, and she really instilled a sense of confidence in me that the boot camp would help me reach that goal.
How was the day-to-day of the program, and how was the learning curve for you?
It’s an intense program, there’s no doubt about it. My learning curve was very steep. I definitely needed a lot of support from the instructors, but they were committed to making this a successful journey for me. In turn, I did what they recommended and gave the program 100% of my focus and determination. Ultimately, that’s what made all the difference.
How were your relationships with the instructor, assistant instructors, Career Services team, and fellow learners?
I had excellent relationships with my instructors, Raz and Danish. They were extremely helpful, knowledgeable, and consistently went the extra mile to make sure every learner was understanding and benefiting from the course. One assistant instructor, Roland, was especially knowledgeable and eager to help, and my Career Director, Nathalie, was an excellent resource. She was supportive and helpful in the best possible ways. My fellow learners were awesome. We had a strong network; a few of us still keep in regular contact and meet up from time to time.
What projects were you particularly proud of?
I worked on two group projects. The first was called CTF (Catch the Flag) — an information security game where we dove into hacking — and the second was a malware analysis tool. They were both excellent learning experiences. Working on cybersecurity material felt like an amazing culmination of the front end of the course, which was focused on programming, system administration, and networking. The projects were a great way to pull together everything we had learned throughout the program.
What’s your current career?
I currently work for Deloitte. I’m in their cyber intelligence center as a threat content specialist, creating and managing rules in security information and event management (SIEM) software and working in line with the security operations center team. I’m definitely using the skills I learned at the boot camp; my general knowledge of the cybersecurity realm, and my defensive security skills in particular. Of course, things come up that the curriculum didn’t include, but I’m well-equipped to pick them up and learn them on the job now that I have a strong foundation.
Where do you see yourself headed in the future?
I certainly see myself continuing the path I’m on now. While I’m not looking for a change, I want to progress and evolve. The combination of my business management experience and what I’ve learned so far in my current role will help me to continue to excel and eventually move further in the company. But the boot camp is what helped me get my foot in the door in this industry, something that wouldn’t have otherwise been possible.