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Climbing to success: Abigail Wisdom’s journey to a fulfilling cyber operations career

Many people seeking to balance their careers and education have shown great interest in online degree programs. Among them is Abigail “Abby” Wisdom (she/her), who is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in Cyber Operations and Resilience at Boise State University. Despite not following the traditional enrollment route, Abby has made significant progress towards her degree and is set to graduate in the fall 2023 semester.

Wisdom, who comes from a family of eight siblings, left Oklahoma to find work and ended up in Idaho after finishing high school. Despite not having any plans to pursue higher education initially, she eventually felt unfulfilled with her nine-to-five job and decided to become the first female-identifying person in her family to attend college.

Choosing the Right Program

Wisdom was unsure of which degree program to choose and entered Boise State University without a declared major for two years. However, she was certain of her love for traveling and rock climbing and wanted to find a program that would allow her to continue pursuing these passions.

Abigail Wisdom hiking with a backpack.
Photo provided by Abigail Wisdom.

That’s when she discovered the cyber operations and resilience program, which offered the flexibility of asynchronous online learning and catered to all skill levels in technology and cybersecurity.

Despite having no previous training in this field, Wisdom learned from a program advisor that cybersecurity careers offer remote or hybrid work opportunities and have more job openings than many other professions. This meant that Abby could balance her career with her interests and continue rock climbing and traveling. In fact, she was able to study cyber operations and resilience while living in Asia during her time in the program.

Emphasize on Resilience

Although the cyber operations program highlights resilience in a technical and operational sense, resilience is also a great description of Wisdom’s academic and career journey thus far. As the first female-identifying college student in her family, Wisdom had to learn the college path based on trial and error.

She became interested in technology after taking an introductory programming course at Boise State. However, she had to drop out because she needed to prioritize work. Fortunately, the cyber operations program provided her with the necessary resources to address her financial needs without sacrificing her academic pursuits. With the help of the cyber operations program and Boise State’s student resources, she was able to achieve success beyond her expectations.

Photo of Abigail Wisdom, sitting on a bridge with trees in the background.
Photo provided by Abigail Wisdom.

This program enhanced her time management and compartmentalizing skills, as she had to manage her own schedules due to the asynchronous nature of the classes, as well as still working long shifts. Writing papers on a more frequent basis started to become a breeze, and it showed in her positive grades and overall GPA. She started receiving mentorship and support from various colleagues, professors and staff in order to forge a confident path into cybersecurity.

Wisdom also took advantage of the career center at Boise State in which she received help in building her resume and practicing her interview skills by performing mock interviews with the career center staff.

Where To Next?

Like all cybersecurity professionals, Wisdom acknowledges that she has a lot more to learn. The field constantly evolves, and there are always new things to learn and skills to improve. She plans on obtaining CompTIA’s Security+ and Network+ certifications to further develop her career. When asked about her future plans, Wisdom expressed her desire to have a cybersecurity career, travel the world and climb rocks.

Wisdom’s success has just started, and she credits this program for her growth and confidence. She went from being a recent high school graduate in Oklahoma to a world-traveling rock climber. Her self-doubts have greatly decreased. Next on Wisdom’s list is completing the programming course as she prepares to become the first female-identifying person in her family to graduate from college.

Learn More about Boise State’s Online Cyber Operations Programs

Want to learn more about the Bachelor of Science in Cyber Operations and Resilience? Join us for an online information session or contact a student success coach.

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By Ranier Lieberman