How this help desk technician breaks into the cybersecurity industry and sets sights on protecting autonomous vehicles

The journey from help desk support to cybersecurity analyst

To La’Neyshia Drew, building a career in cybersecurity takes confidence, dedication and perseverance. After starting her career as a networking professional and realizing how much cyber risk impacted every industry, she became interested in shifting gears into cyber. She described, “Cybersecurity is one of the most important fronts that we must protect and defend. In this age of electronics, constant internet connectivity and an endless library of mobile applications, it is more important than ever to ensure we are protected against any potential cyber threats. Not only is our individual security important, but the security of essential companies such as hospitals or even oil companies is just as, if not more, important.”

The journey to finding a role in cybersecurity for many starts with learning. She believes that every path to success begins with education, whether formal or informal. She continues her unwavering journey to develop the knowledge, mindset, and skills to pass on and share with other minorities, women and girls for generations to come. “My goal is to pay it forward and set up a program for myself to teach the important fundamentals of cyber security to the youth, the leaders of tomorrow,” Drew explained.

La'Neyshia Drew leverages her networking background to break into cybersecurity and follow her passion for threat protection and investigation.

Self-confidence and grit — critical skill sets you won’t see in a job description

Coming from humble beginnings, Drew worked two jobs while following a strict budget and making many sacrifices to ensure her family’s safety and financial security. Throughout this time, she’s remained highly motivated and has relied on her self-confidence to overcome all of the “no’s” that she has faced throughout her life.  

Furthermore, as one of seven children and the first of her siblings to graduate from college, she’s dedicated to pressing on for her success and inspiring her siblings and the next generation to pursue their goals. She explained, “Anything is possible when you set your mind to it and never give up!” Her advice to other women is to “just go for it — don’t tell yourself No before you’ve even tried.”

 

Fueling cyber protection for a modern automotive industry

One of Drew’s long-term goals is to support the protection of automated vehicles. According to ABI Research, in 2020, 91% of all automobile sales in the U.S. were connected cars and, since 2016, there has been a 608% increase in cyber incidents. This is a growing area of concern and a ripe opportunity for growing cybersecurity professionals. Drew has caught wind of this trend early and plans to dig deeper into the space. “As I see more electric vehicles being manufactured and more automated systems and features being put into petroleum-based vehicles, I have developed the desire to work to ensure the security of these systems.”

Today, given her background in networking, she also enjoys learning about threat protection and investigation. Namely, she enjoys analyzing network traffic to see where it came from, what it’s doing, where its intended target is and where it went to. This early interest and experience are already setting her up on a path to greater learning and success.

 

A growing career

Drew has shown all of the signs that she’s committed to growing a solid career in cybersecurity and bringing others up along the way. Her unwavering courage will be an inspiration to all, and that’s evident from her closing thought, “Anything is possible when you set your mind to it and never give up! I refuse to give up. I will succeed. No matter how long it takes.”

Her advice to other women is to "just go for it — don't tell yourself No before you've even tried."

Infosec Accelerate Scholarship Program

The Infosec Accelerate Scholarship Program was established in 2018 to encourage new talent to join our industry and close the growing cybersecurity skills gap. Each year, 12 scholarship recipients receive lifetime access to Infosec Skills to help them build the skills needed to launch and advance their cybersecurity careers.