I had a great chat with Wajih Bitar – a NexGenT alum who is now working on a Computer Science degree at the University of Houston. We connected when he reached out to me to ask about continuing his access Project Ares even though he’d completed the cybersecurity certificate program.
Project Ares Customer Success Manager, Giuseppe Scalamonga, and Wajih Bitar jam about cybersecurity education.
Wajih, what inspired you to want to use Project Ares again?
I love how realistic Project Ares is. Other platforms seem more like games to me. They give you similar commands, but they aren’t the real thing. Project Ares is the actual process, actual commands, and the actual work… just like you’d really be doing at a job in the industry.
How did you become interested in studying cybersecurity?
I was born in Iraq and my family moved to Jordan when I was young. In 3rd grade, we had to do a class presentation and my teacher assigned me ‘hackers’. Ever since then I’ve been super intrigued with hacking, computers, and cybersecurity.
When I moved to America at age twelve, I first had to learn English. As I started to catch on, I thought OK, now I’m going to study programming, thinking it would lead to cybersecurity. I studied programming for three years in high school before eventually deciding to pursue a degree in Computer Science. But studying Computer Science was sort of a different world. It’s related to cybersecurity, but my classes lacked the hands-on skills I wanted to work on.
Then I found the cybersecurity bootcamp at NexGenT. When I got started in the course, I fell in love and thought – this is my passion. This is it.
What’s next for you?
My immediate goal is to finish the last credits I need for my Computer Science degree; to close out that chapter and to make my parents proud. After that, I’d like to work as a cybersecurity analyst and study for a Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH) certificate to see how I fit in with Red Teams and penetration testers.
Do you have any words of inspiration for other students?
It’s never too late. No matter where you are or how old you are. Always chase your dreams. Don’t let any obstacles stop you. There’s always a way to make it work.
The Project Ares team appreciates all we learn from our students.
We’re excited by their passion, drive, and desire to be successful!
Thank you Wajih, and best of success in your cybersecurity career journey.
Check out other success stories where we continue to explore what inspires and motivates Project Ares students and why cybersecurity is important to them.