Cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field that can be especially daunting for those who perhaps feel they lack the technical, mathematical or cyber prowess to belong there.
At one time, Ashley Sequiera, the senior technical trainer of security operations at Palo Alto Networks felt the exact same way. Mathematics, namely calculus, seemed an insurmountable barrier to pursuing her dreams.
“For anyone who thinks they can’t do it, I’m a walking example of anything being possible,” said Sequiera. “I want to share that story and help motivate others to join me in this field.”
Sequiera hails from Sacramento, California. She attended Sacramento Community College and received her associate’s degree in information security after serving in the Army. However, after leaving the military, Sequiera struggled to find a meaningful professional niche.
“Before I was in cybersecurity, I was working odd jobs and couch surfing all over the state of California. I left active duty service and struggled to find the right fit,” said Sequiera. “The jobs weren’t careers; they were just jobs and the companies didn’t understand the uniqueness that made me ‘Me’. I kept getting help desk positions but had to work very hard to eventually land my first security position.”
Sequiera eventually attended a training class for veterans at Palo Alto Networks and ended up being offered a job. She has been with the company for four years now.
Sequiera earned her bachelor’s in general studies from Southern New Hampshire University and is now augmenting her professional cybersecurity knowledge by pursuing her degree though the Graduate Cyber Operations and Resilience program at Boise State
“I’m already in the industry, with unfettered access to technical expertise,” explained Sequiera. “Boise State’s program combines technical and thinking skills, which helps me become a more well-rounded practitioner.”
When asked what has been the most eye-opening revelation in her cybersecurity coursework, Sequiera replied that “Absolutely nothing is safe.”
Looking forward, Sequiera says she is considering future research opportunities and would like to pursue her doctorate in cybersecurity and start her own security consulting company.