Meet Amanda: from massage therapist to a career in cybersecurity


“Through the confidence and knowledge I gained from these classes, I applied for and accepted a cybersecurity analyst position.”


Amanda was a Certified Massage Therapist, Swim Instructor, and Lifeguard for the Local YMCA, but had to retire due to moving and other life events.

Without a plan, Amanda says getting into technology was “more of a fluke than anything.”

“My husband also works in Cybersecurity and while I was looking at programs he suggested that I go into IT, even though I felt very under-qualified or skilled for this line of work. He encouraged me to try at least one semester and I was hooked and found a new passion!”

Amanda chose Alexandria Technical & Community College’s Associate of Applied Science in Cybersecurity, Virtualization and Networking course not only because it was local, but because “I appreciated the resources that Cisco provides for these courses. Having hands-on training with equipment made my decision very easy.”

Hands-on labs and Packet Tracer

“As a non-traditional student with no background in technology I was impressed with the hands-on labs and Packet Tracer,” says Amanda. “These tools and methods allowed me to see and understand networks at every layer. This, coupled with the security classes, allowed me to grow my interest in cybersecurity and understand how it impacts every part of a functional network.”

“Through the confidence and knowledge I gained from these classes, I applied for and accepted a cybersecurity analyst position. Being able to graduate with a job in networking/cybersecurity is the testament to how well this program works."

Amanda now works as a Cybersecurity Analyst and is aiming to sit for CyberOps Associate certification.

Fully-immersed in cybersecurity

“My job has been an amazing opportunity to fully immerse myself in cybersecurity,” says Amanda. “I read logs, run scans, and work on policies among other things. The great thing about my role is I feel like I make a difference. I get to help people understand why we have cybersecurity and that we're not as scary as our title sounds.”

“I also get to be hands-on in my job, and when I have a concern it's taken seriously and acted upon if needed. But the absolute best part is that I'm always encouraged to learn more and to always be curious.”


Ready to begin your own cybersecurity learning journey? Start with our cybersecurity pathway.

Explore more inspiring success stories at