My name is Manali Patel. I was born in India in a very supportive family with parents who always helped and encouraged me to explore my interest in math and computers – areas I’ve excelled in since high school. After high school, I was accepted in the competitive field of engineering and graduated with a bachelor’s in electronics and communications having learned much about circuit analysis, digital electronics, telecommunication, satellite communication, radio frequencies, programming courses in Hardware (Verilog), C, and more.
Eventually, I came to the United States to complete a graduate certification program with data mining concentration at the New Jersey Institute of Technology (NJIT). There, I studied Queries databases, complex joins, data mining (statistics, R programming, Algorithms Clustering, and Association), graduating with a 4.00 GPA and with all credit hours transferable to a master’s program at NJIT.
During my master’s program, I took the amazing opportunity to participate in a rotation program and gain practical experience, completing 3 rotations in 2 business areas. My first rotation was on the production and support team developing small search engine web applications. During my second rotation, I had the opportunity to explore cybersecurity while working on the Identity and Access Management team, managing 80 applications and network resources with Service Now ticketing system, resolving customer issues, finding route cause analysis, and troubleshooting high-end issues on provisioning access. I gained proficiency in QUALYS vulnerability management tool, ran reports on Workstations, DMZ, and Servers for vulnerabilities, and organized meetings with IT service engineers and helpdesk to remediate important issues. Additionally, I worked with Threat Metrix tool for fraud detection and identified fraud transactions based on Geo location, IP address, Smart ID parameters, and different false positives.
After completing the rotations, I continued my master’s degree in information systems and applied for the CPITS program with one of the best companies – Trend Micro.
There, I learned a lot: Amazon Web services, Linux, networking, Azure cloud services, hands-on labs, and training on leading Trend products – Apex One (End Point Security), Deep Security (Server protection), XDR (Threat detection, including extensive threat and root cause), and Deep Security Smart Check (container security with a single view of and protection of CI/CD pipeline from build time to runtime). My training also included getting certified in Apex One and Deep Security.
During the program, I participated in the Capture the Flag challenge designed by Trend Micro researchers to expose contestants to real-world cybersecurity scenarios. I learned reverse engineering, forensics/exploitation, open-source intelligence (OSINT), mobile, IoT, machine learning, and more, completing the challenge with 4th rank.
The program included sales training as well – we were assigned customers whom we provided with product consultations. At the end of the program, we presented solutions to government customers with air-gapped environment running legacy operating system and old web applications. We suggested Deep Security on-prem and Apex one on-prem solutions with the goal of eventually helping them transition to a cloud-based solution.
With Trend CPITS I gained rock solid experience within 10 weeks and vastly improved my technical, team management, and time management skills. I greatly appreciate the opportunity and am now eager to take on a new challenge and start my journey in cybersecurity. I am looking forward to learning, growing, and contributing to the cybersecurity community. My goal is not only to land a job, but to also help protect this digital world from hackers who steal users’ sensitive information and take advantages of system vulnerabilities. My target roles include incident and response, Trend Micro product support, sales engineer, customer support engineer, SOC analyst, risk analyst, and offensive/defensive (Red and Blue teams, pen testing).
A fast learner and a team player, I work hard to achieve my goals. I am ready to continue my journey in cybersecurity.