An edX Access Partnership Helped This Tulsa Transplant Finally Launch His Dream Career in Cybersecurity
Meet Moses. The free tuition and comprehensive support from Tulsa Community College’s online Cybersecurity Boot Camp helped him land an apprenticeship that turned into a full-time position.
Moses is one of several learners featured in our 2022 Transparency & Outcomes Report who’ve leveraged the power of online education to transform their lives, their communities, and our world for the better.
Moses Athias had been wanting to break into cybersecurity for over a decade. The New Jersey native had earned his associate’s degree in computer science, completed an IT certificate program, and worked a couple of helpdesk jobs—each time getting closer to his passions but never able to make the leap.
“I liked the idea of being in a high-stakes role where I can help people protect their data and livelihoods,” Moses says. “And all of the tools for detecting system vulnerabilities felt very intuitive to me. Cybersecurity also just looked fun—like, wow! I can catch a hacker by thinking like one.”
In early 2022, Moses decided to make the move to Tulsa, Oklahoma, to take advantage of the lower cost of living and support his young daughter. He landed a job as a body cam technician for the county sheriff’s office, which was eventually upgraded to an IT troubleshooting role. However, the expansion of his responsibilities still didn’t get him any closer to his goals.
One day, he saw an ad for an online cybersecurity boot camp from Tulsa Community College (TCC). Moses learned that the part-time boot camp and any necessary support—wifi, transportation, childcare, etc.—was completely free. What’s more, the ad explained that the program, an edX Access Partnership with TCC, fed into a full-time paid apprenticeship with a local employer.
“This was exactly what I had been struggling to get into all this time,” Moses says. “Being able to do the boot camp part-time and at home, without needing to commute anywhere, made it really enticing. And as a dad looking to help raise his daughter, the childcare and all of those other free resources were vital. It was an opportunity I couldn’t pass up—I knew I had to apply.”
High-Quality Learning and Support—at No Cost
When he found out that his boot camp application had been accepted, Moses was equally over the moon and overwhelmed with feelings of doubt.
“Even though I had been in tech jobs for a while, I thought the program was going to knock me off my feet,” he admits. “But from day one, they supported us. Our student success manager was constantly reaching out to make sure we had what we needed. And I loved our instructor—he had all of this expertise from being on the blue defense team at his company. He kept the pace of the boot camp just right and kept us engaged the whole time.”
Through the program’s industry-relevant curriculum, Moses learned everything from Linux security commands to detailed mitigation strategies. For his final project, he researched and ran tests with Hydra, one of many password-cracking tools used by hackers, and presented on ways to help minimize its threat on enterprise systems.
It was through all of his solo and group class presentations—and the abundance of resume-building advice he received from the boot camp’s career services—that Moses was able to boost his confidence. When it came time to apply for the program’s apprenticeship with Conquest Cyber, he felt ready to meet the moment.
“The whole experience was a seamless transfer,” Moses says. “I was able to take all the skills I learned, and all the trust in myself, and knock those three interviews out.”
Bridging the Gap and Breaking Through
For the apprenticeship, Moses was eager to begin learning on the job—and also excited to be starting the program with several of his classmates from the boot camp.
“It helps to already know the people you’re going to be working with,” he says. “It made the transition into a work environment that much easier.”
During the apprenticeship, Moses worked for various departments across Conquest Cyber. The company wanted everyone in the program to become familiar with its IT operations, security incident response, and risk management protocols in order to become more cyber resilient.
Putting his newly acquired skills to the test, Moses was responsible for configuring virtual machines, investigating threat cases, and monitoring client networks for cyber attacks using a query language for network logs that was similar to what he learned in the boot camp. No less than three months later, he was offered a permanent full-time position with Conquest Cyber as an associate security analyst.
“The boot camp afforded me the freedom to break through socioeconomic barriers that had previously stunted my ability to advance the tech skills I needed to pursue my goals,” he says. “I’m grateful I got my foot in the door and am now getting real cyber experience. One day, I’d love to be the chief of staff for security information somewhere. But for now, I’m happy to have finally been able to bridge the gap.”
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