Thank you so much for joining us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
It’s my pleasure to join. I worked as a fast-food manager in the spring of 2020, and I wanted to solve real-world problems. I had zero experience in IT, but I knew deep down I wanted to get into the Cybersecurity field. The biggest problem: I was a high school dropout. I came across this book called “Ultra Learning” by Scott Young, where he completed MIT’s computer science program in 1 year, and I thought, well, if that guy can do it, why can’t I? I enrolled in an online school to pursue my Bachelor’s in Cybersecurity and graduated ten months later. It was not easy, but it was worth it; plus, it’s cool saying I earned a four-year degree in 10 months. After graduating, I accepted a role with General Motors as an Information Security Specialist.
Can you share the most exciting story that happened to you since you started doing this?
Not necessarily an exciting story per se, but going from a high school dropout to a graduate student at the University of California – Berkeley in less than a year is nothing short of amazing. I was a high school dropout in June of 2020, and in May of 2021, I was accepted to their Master of Information and Cybersecurity graduate program.
Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them thrive and not “burn out”?
Don’t take it too seriously. I do a great job, but I go with the flow. Especially in a complex global environment, it’s essential to have a great support system. My coworkers and I have a very close relationship, and it helps things out. Oh, and asking for new and different things to do will help.
None of us can achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a person you are grateful for who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?
Yeah, there are quite a few people, my wife, my mentor from my previous job, and my friends, but I would say it is the person who inspired me. I won’t mention his name, but let’s call him Frank. In Jan 2020, I built a network on LinkedIn and came across Frank’s profile. He was a cybersecurity analyst at NASA. A year before that? A manager at a fast-food restaurant. That’s what inspired me. He also went through the same online school for cyber as I did and helped push me over the top.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
I would say so. I have mentored at least ten others breaking into cyber and earning certifications. I would consider this “goodness” because no one should feel stuck in their current career. It’s important to feel fulfilled, and it’s important to know that anything is possible.
Do you have a favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share a story of how that was relevant to you in your life?
“a future where humanity is out exploring the stars is fundamentally more exciting than one where we are not.” I know quoting Elon is a bit cliche, but I do believe in this quote. It inspires me nearly every day to think outside the box, go the extra mile, and work outside the standard 9-5 shift.
How can our readers follow you on social media?
It’s just Instagram or LinkedIn if someone wants to talk cyber IG: Ianternationalsecurity LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ian-clark-.
Anything specific you’d like to have mentioned in the article?
Perhaps this article written about me could be referenced? https://www.comptia.org/blog/from-food-service-to-it But also, to live your dreams. You can do whatever you want in life, and I’m walking proof. If I can do it, anyone can.