Meet the Alphas: NTU Mechanical Engineering Student Finds Affinity for Cybersecurity
What began as a passing interest in information technology and coding soon evolved into a full-fledged passion for cybersecurity for our Cohort 01 trainee, Achmad Mutamaqin. Under the guidance of Red Alpha’s Alpha Specialist Training Programme (ASTP), Achmad has grown from a budding enthusiast to a trained full stack developer DART – one of our partners in cybersecurity training. Read more on how Achmad’s brief encounter with IT spurred him to make that career switch from mechanical engineering to cybersecurity.
What were you doing prior to joining as a Red Alpha trainee? What prompted you to make that change?
"Prior to joining Red Alpha, I was studying mechanical engineering at NTU. I wasn’t particularly passionate about pursuing a career in mechanical engineering at the time, since I wanted to do something related to information technology. Chancing upon Red Alpha was the perfect opportunity for me to make the transition to a field I’ve always wanted to be a part of!"
How has your perspective on cybersecurity changed since the beginning of your training with Red Alpha?
"It’s a well-known fact that the cybersecurity field is fast-paced and dynamic, but experiencing it is completely different from just reading about it through research. I believe the most treasured aspect of being a Red Alpha trainee is the fact that we're learning from the best each day. The trainers at Red Alpha are all working professionals and practitioners in the field, and they provide so much insight about cybersecurity that I would never have been able to acquire from just researching on my own. My interest in cybersecurity has definitely grown much more, now that I have a taste of what it’s like being in this industry."
What’s one aspect you enjoy the most throughout your journey in ASTP?
"Definitely the people! My cohort peers are all very friendly people, and we still regularly keep in touch even though it’s been half a year since we’ve graduated and embarked on different paths. I’ve also forged closer bonds with the trainers since graduating from the 4-month bootcamp, as they are always ever-ready and happy to share advice that I need. If I could say so, my relationships with my mentors here have moved from a trainer-trainee relationship to a more personal relationship. All in all, my biggest takeaway from Red Alpha is, hands down, the people I’ve connected with. Cybersecurity folks are great!"
How would you describe your time and experience in ASTP?
"To sum it up in a single word: LIFE-CHANGING! While job-hunting last year, I kept going back and forth between sticking to the “safe” path of mechanical engineering and diving into an industry I had no experience or knowledge in. After a long while of deliberating, I decided to take that leap of faith and have never regretted it since. Though arduous and daunting, the journey has been a pretty fulfilling one. Till today, I believe that continuing a path in technology and cybersecurity will further harness my true potential."
As someone who stepped foot into the profession without prior experience, what is one piece of advice you would give to those who wish to make a career switch but are hesitant to do so?
"Changing careers is definitely a big decision to undertake, but it is important to acknowledge that this is quite the norm nowadays. Many people do change their industries! Also, do consider the decision early so that you can plan your roadmap ahead. And, go for something that interests you. After all, that passion is going to stick with you throughout your career growth and journey."
With the help of ASTP’s sterling curriculum and mentorship, we saw Achmad take his first leap into the cybersecurity and technology workforce as a full stack developer in DART. We are incredibly thrilled to have played a significant role n Achmad’s accelerated entry into the profession, and we look forward to embracing more like-minded individuals on board our next cohorts!