Seizing Cyber Security: Cindy’s Pioneering Journey from Design to Digital Defense

We are excited to announce that the Cyber Skills Enrichment Program, our Gold sponsor for this year’s TechDiversity Awards, has offered us a unique insight into how their program is providing participants with a unique entry point into a career in cyber security.


Cindy Liu

Cindy Liu, Cyber Security Generalist at Cyber Audit Team

In February, we had the opportunity to speak with Didi Fletcher, a recent graduate of the program. This month, we are thrilled to introduce Cindy Liu, a current participant in the program’s paid placement stream. This stream is designed to equip participants with the practical skills and hands-on experience they need for a career in cyber security.

Cindy comes from a traditional career in sales and marketing, but she was motivated to switch careers after witnessing the destructive effects of threat actors and scams. She pursued formal qualifications in Cyber and is now gaining practical cyber skills through the program. This has made her even more passionate and driven to help individuals and businesses protect themselves against cyber threats.


Join us as Cindy shares her personal journey and how she made the pivot to a career in cyber security.


  1. What inspired you to join the Cyber Skills Enrichment Program, and how did you hear about it?

I heard about the Cyber Skills Enrichment Program during my last semester at University of the Sunshine Coast. I also came across a post on LinkedIn, followed by a conversation with my AWSN mentor, Paula, who shared more details about the program with me.

Despite completing various cyber security training courses, I found I lacked the real-world experience that prospective employers were looking for, even for entry-level positions.

After reading about the program and how it provides participants with an entry point into a career in cyber, I knew this was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up and decided to apply. Fortunately, I was selected from a large number of applicants to participate in the program.

I felt fortunate to find this program. Not only does it provide hands-on experience to complement my theoretical knowledge, but it provides the ability to work alongside experienced mentors. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my time so far; it has been an incredible opportunity.


  1. Could you describe a typical day or week in the program? What kind of activities or learning experiences stood out to you?

My typical day starts with a commute from Brisbane to the Gold Coast. During this time, I take the opportunity to engage in training or other learning activities.

After reaching the office, we participate in regular meetings that cover various topics, such as live demonstrations on the usage of different security tools for monitoring and reporting tasks for our clients. We also receive weekly challenges based on the week’s learning topic, individually or as a group.

In the program, we have access to a wide range of training materials that cover various security tools that help us perform tasks related to our clients’ security needs. We are also encouraged to pursue industry certifications like Microsoft Azure, ISC2, and CompTIA, which add an extra layer of professional development to our journey.

We are fortunate to also have guest speakers from different vendors, business partners, and recruiters come to provide additional training.

One particular experience that impressed me was the exposure to real-time monitoring of clients’ environments through the Security Operation Centre. I’ve also enjoyed being involved in developing customer’s cyber security training content aimed at enhancing their overall security awareness.


  1. How has the program impacted your understanding and skills in cyber security? Are there any specific areas where you feel you’ve grown the most?

While I knew technical proficiency in cyber is critical, I’ve come to understand that this is just one side of the equation and that it is equally as essential to maintain the right attitude, actively participate in discussions, attend industry events, and be more engaged and visible on LinkedIn, to broaden my professional network and industry knowledge.

The program has been invaluable in teaching me these skills, and I’m committed to further developing these as I advance in my cyber journey.

Since joining this program, I’ve undergone a significant transformation already – seeing myself move from being a not-so-confident cyber graduate hesitant to apply for jobs due to a lack of experience to now feeling comfortable presenting myself professionally in front of various industry professionals and engaging with them in meaningful ways has been invaluable.

Additionally, I’ve become more visible on social media platforms, which has been a big step for me.


  1. Reflecting on your journey, what advice would you give to others considering a career shift into tech or cyber security?

My main tips or advice to others considering a career shift into tech or cyber security are:

    1. Making a successful transition into tech or cyber security requires curiosity, dedication to continuous learning, and active engagement with the cyber security community.
    2. Don’t underestimate the importance of networking. Start building connections early to improve your visibility for when opportunities become available.
    3. Approach the journey with an open mind, enthusiasm, and persistence.
    4. Despite the hurdles, with the right mindset and effort, landing a dream job in cyber security is within reach.
    5. Embrace the challenge and the learning process, and the cyber security community will support you every step of the way.

Facing challenges during a mid-career shift is normal, especially for those new to tech. Programs like the Cyber Security Enrichment Program can be a great start, offering a hands-on feel for various cyber security roles and helping you to find your niche.


  1. Reflecting on your journey, what advice would you offer to professionals from non-tech backgrounds considering a similar pivot into the tech industry?

Reflecting on my transition from a non-tech background to cyber security, I have realised how crucial self-belief and passion can be. Initially, I doubted my place in tech. However, learning about the industry’s skill shortage and the fact that this gap can only be bridged through skilling and hiring diverse talent shifted my perspective and boosted my confidence to pursue a career in cyber security.

With this newfound belief, I went back to study and enrolled in a Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security while completing various industry certifications in my personal time.

Networking also became a crucial part of my transition plan. I joined AWSN and connected with various industry professionals, absorbing every piece of advice they gave me. By getting involved and connecting with others in the industry, I have seen how vibrant and welcoming the community is, and this has kept me going even when I’ve faced challenges. As a result, my tentative step into tech has now blossomed into a burning desire to pursue a full-time career in cyber security.


For those considering a similar shift into cyber security, know that with belief in your ability to learn and adapt, determination and persistence, and an open mind, you can find your place in this dynamic industry. The possibilities are endless!

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