When Francis Prim Pagunuran was a student, he thought the world of cyber security was intimidating.
Francis was intimidated because he couldn’t see a way forward (or a way to break into the industry). Also, his only exposure to people in cyber security was from movies. He felt it gave him a false impression by making cyber professionals appear detached, and a bit unhealthy. However, what we see in the mainstream media is not representative of the diversity that exists in today’s cyber experts. Having now worked with people in cyber security, Francis can see that they are caring, welcoming, and human.
During his university days, Francis worked as an apprentice for Hackthenoth.ph, a premier tech group in the Philippines’ Northern region. During his apprenticeship, he met a lot of people who shared his enthusiasm for cyber security, and he absorbed a lot of information around cyber. However, he still felt like he didn’t know how to align all the lessons he’d learned with what he wanted to do. But once he started his internship with Secon, he says all the pieces of information began to fall into place.
Even though cyber security is still a bit intimidating to Francis, he’s determined to pursue a fulfilling career in this field. Francis is particularly interested in learning more about what role cyber security plays in the age of advanced technology and exploring how he can contribute to this culture shift.
This desire is what drove him to join our Cyber Academy. He says the Academy became a safe haven for him to absorb new information and explore career opportunities. For him, the internship was helpful because it was a space to try new things without the pressure to not make mistakes. Francis said he also appreciated the Academy’s culture of constantly striving for improvement, which always encouraged everyone to continue learning and growing.
At first, Francis struggled to balance his university obligations and the Cyber Academy since the internship overlapped with the last few months of his degree. However, he was grateful that the Academy was flexible and gave him time to balance his study with the internship role.
The Academy’s assistance taught him that everyone, no matter how many tasks they must juggle, must begin somewhere. He said he realised that his mentors worked hard to get where they are, and that meant that he could do the same. Ultimately, he learned that challenging work yields results, and after his internship, Francis landed a full-time position at Secon.
After graduating from university, he was greeted with open arms by the Secon team. He commented that the internship was informative, but it was like watching an operation through a window. Now, he feels like he’s part of the solution. Having the opportunity to solve real-life cases and support Secon’s vision to be always on for our clients excites him.
Francis says he initially struggled to understand how all the security tools functioned and interacted with one another. However, through experience, he was able to grasp new concepts, develop new skills, and work through this learning curve.
The concept of being always on is at the heart of everything we do. For Francis, this means you should always be prepared to give your all to support your team, your clients, and your own personal development.
For anyone looking to begin a career in cyber security, Francis recommends considering a background in networking, system administration, and operating systems. However, he says the biggest thing people should consider is that you don’t know (and can’t know) everything, but being willing to explore the unknown will get your far in achieving your goals.