From the heat of the kitchen to ethical hacking


“I have been in love with tweaking computers all my life,” says Niels. “I knew I had to do something with this, and it turned out to be the best choice I have ever made.”


Following his love of cooking, Niels began working in kitchens at the age of twelve but eventually found the working hours and pay rate wore him down. While he still loves cooking, he decided to change course and engage in another of his passions: ethical hacking.

Cisco Networking Academy—“the number one platform in the world in my opinion,” according to Niels—at PXL University was his first choice.

That didn’t mean it was easy for him. “A lot of the time, I felt bad because I just couldn’t get it, but most of the time, after a break, I was able to go further,” he says. “The course is very interactive and very easy to read.”

“IPv6 was pretty hard since I didn’t get how it worked,” he says, adding that perseverance is key. “It gets hard,” he says, “but just keep going and you will get there.”

Value in networking and security

“Cisco has given me a lot of value in networking and security,” says Niels. “Since I started in the IT sector and came into contact with Cisco, I have become hugely passionate about the security part of businesses. This is where Cisco has supported me tremendously by laying a great foundation for different areas, including systems, networking, and security.”

“All this has helped me become the person I am today and set up my own penetration testing company—XPOSE Security—with two friends who themselves are also passionate in the whole IT sector,” says Niels.

His business partners are not Networking Academy alumni, and Niels jokes that “they should be ashamed!”

In a short period of time, the company has worked with a number of large businesses, though Niels admits that getting new clients can be a challenge because many can’t see why cybersecurity is so important.

Believe in yourself

“I am only 22, but Cisco has taught me so much in a short period of time that I have started to believe in myself completely,” he says. “The community around Cisco is also very interactive and helpful. This has helped me when I got stuck or bumped into a problem.”



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