In August of 2019, Riley Pardillo shifted the course of her life when she changed her major. She turned her focus from theater to computer science while enrolled at her local community college. This new direction led Riley to take an Information Security course that fall semester, a significant stepping stone in what was to become a major career redirection for Riley. With many attractive, open positions worldwide, Riley’s spark for technology was the catalyst she needed to begin training for purposeful, life-long work.
Scrolling through Instagram in December of last year, Riley came across an advertisement for CSULB’s Cybersecurity Professional Certificate program. She needed to know more. To learn about the opportunities available to her, she reached out to an admissions advisor who helped her recall how working with technology made her feel and encouraged her to take a chance on herself. Following the conversation, Riley enrolled in the introductory course to see if obtaining the certificate was the next step she wanted to take in her journey into the field.
Spark for Technology
Reflecting on her first few weeks of training, Riley said, “The intro course solidified everything based on my prior experience in the field. I think what it is, is that they gave you enough to keep you interested and wanting more.”
Riley flourished in the fast-paced classroom and found herself excited by her coursework. Before long, the Career Services team at CSULB reached out to Riley to see if she felt ready to begin applying and interviewing for some entry-level positions in the field. Eager to get some real-world experience, Riley worked closely with her Student Success Manager, Fred, and Career Coaches, Diana and Robert, to determine what she was truly looking for in a job in cybersecurity.
Riley now works in a cybersecurity position in California. She knows that this incredible opportunity is a stepping stone to obtaining her dream role in a few years time. She understands the importance of building genuine connections inside the classroom and in the field. Placing significant value on her classmates, instructors, and support staff at CSULB, Riley stated, “I feel really lucky to be in the cohort that I’m in right now. It’s probably one of the only things that I look forward to [going to class and being with them] because everybody just helps one another. And the running joke is that we’re the only class that always asks for homework because we just want to learn more.”
Starting the Journey
At the start of her journey, Riley didn’t have a crystal clear vision of what her career path into cybersecurity would look like. But, her many supporters and strong intuition guided her into a role that serves as a learning experience as well as a jumping off point for exciting career endeavors to come. For those unsure of their next step, start by researching the field you’re interested in and trusting you’ll find the pathway perfect for you in your own time.
To connect with Riley, you can visit her Linkedin.