Year Up Bay Area Alum

Security Analyst at UCSF

Class of January 2017

After finishing high school, I studied Clinical Nutrition at University of California, Davis. I wanted to do something in medicine but I struggled with my health, in and out of the hospital, and wasn’t able to finish my bachelor’s degree. Instead, I started working in food prep and coaching tennis on the side. Eventually, I went back to school, studying computer science at a community college, but it would have taken me three more years to complete a degree. I was lost and looking for a way to start a career. When a friend told me about Year Up, I saw how professional he had become and decided to apply.

Once starting at Year Up, I found that the coaches and instructors were very personable and had a clear passion for the program’s mission. They taught me professional skills like public speaking and networking, in addition to the technical computer skills. I came into the program with no prior knowledge of coding languages like HTML or CSS, but with the skills I learned at Year Up, I was able to build an instructional tennis website from scratch.

This hands-on training helped me succeed as an Information Security Intern at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). When I first started my internship, I thought I’d be spending 80 percent of my time using skills I already knew. Instead, I did account provisioning and shadowed security engineers to learn new tools and software like Nessus, ADAudit, Solarwinds, and McAfee IPS. This experience also taught me how to use my time efficiently. I was eager to learn more; therefore, whenever I had downtime, I didn’t waste it. I spent any extra time studying for my certifications in Security+ and Network+ to build in-demand skills in network troubleshooting, security, and risk management worldwide.

At the end of my internship, with the help of YUPRO, I was offered a contract position that I accepted as a Security Analyst with UCSF. I want to further my career in information security and gain as much experience as I can. I plan on staying here a long time and I have YUPRO’s support to help with professional growth. I recently completed my certifications in Security+ and Network+, and with the help of UCSF, I plan on earning both CEH and CISSP certifications. I love the IT field because it’s a constant learning environment with new opportunities.

They taught me professional skills like public speaking and networking, in addition to the technical computer skills. If I hadn’t participated in Year Up, I’d probably still be in community college, unsure about how I could jumpstart my career. I’ve found success because I took advantage of the opportunities Year Up and YUPRO provides. This program taught me important lessons about determination and commitment, but the most important thing I learned is that persistence pays off, so don’t give up.