Player Ambassador-in-Training, National Cyber League
Taisa had an analog childhood but was one of the first kids on her block to play Oregon Trail. She took an experimental C++ class in high school in the year *mumblemumble* to avoid taking math and was voluntold to help maintain the school website after that. She still has the pretty tin that the AOL floppy disks came in at Christmastime and won’t give up her flip phone.
Taisa is a former cleaning lady re-skilling into I.T. from more-or-less zero. For ten years, she was the full-time, non-technical assistant to a high-level I.T. security architect consultant, and she saw firsthand (while sweeping the floors) how desperate the need for a skilled cyber security workforce is. Challenged to step up, she grabbed a 20-year-old MCSE study guide off her boss’ shelf to see if she could even understand it. Several weighty tomes later, Taisa sat for the CompTIA Network+ and Security+ certification exams and passed both on the first try.
Much of the CompTIA exam content, though—like sample logs to analyze—hadn’t been covered in those books, and, despite an eclectic employment history, Taisa had no practical I.T. experience yet, nor any college-level degree.
The need to return to school was apparent, so Taisa enrolled in Houston Community College‘s CAE-2Y designated Cyber Security degree program. At HCC, Taisa maintained a 4.0 GPA, was a founding officer of her school’s Cyber Security Club, worked part-time in the ADA computer lab, was a volunteer Instructional Aide in the Firewalls and IDS classes, spoke at her college’s I.T. events, was a guinea pig for an NCL trial run at her school in 2018, and she was HCC’s highest ranking competitor in NCL in 2019.
In the NCL Spring 2020 Preseason game, Taisa ranked #1 in the Log Analysis module. (Eat that, books! Just kidding. We love the important foundational structure you lay, books. ❤ )
In Summer 2020, Taisa was one of 14 students selected from over 1,000 applicants to participate in IBM’s coveted X-Force Red internship program, where she was mentored by some of the world’s greatest hackers.
As she assumes her mantle as an NCL Player Ambassador in Training, Taisa has not yet entered the cyber security workforce, but she is on that cusp. She still is on-call to haul trash on the weekends, and she sleeps on a couch that doubles as her workstation.
She hopes her story will encourage anyone considering re-skilling into cyber security, no matter where they are in life, to go for it.
Where to find her:
Taisa continues to resist the social media revolution.
Find all the blog posts written by Taisa here!