From fashion to cybersecurity - Are security networks better than shoes? Both are great (but security networks offer more perspective), according to Cas.


When you started your career in the fashion industry. What was your motivation back then?

Fashion had a significant influence on my upbringing. My parents created their shoe brand in the Netherlands. Unfortunately, due to health reasons, they had to stop, and I was not ready to take over yet. I’ve always been attached to this industry. When I finished school, I carried out an internship for a retail shoe company and progressed in the fashion industry.

You chose to focus on designing shoes. What interested you most about this?

I loved the technical aspects of the craft. Even beautiful ideas need to be technically doable. You have to be aware of your limitations and know when you need to push to get your ideas worked out. Sometimes, we can push the limits and create something extraordinary.

What was the best moment of your career in the fashion industry?

I had many, I guess, especially since I have taken on different roles within the industry (Shop Manager, Sales Rep Apparel, Sales Manager…). I loved it the most when things seemed impossible, and we made them happen. Like when I was a Shop Manager. There was a high rotation of staff, and I was able to stabilize it. Or when we had to get into a fashion trade show, and there was no available space, but we got in anyway. Getting a customer that no other was able to get is also a huge success.

In 2019, you chose to start a new adventure in cybersecurity. Can you tell us more about your decision?

Ever since the crisis in 2008, the fashion industry is struggling but also changing. Online business has increased and has transformed the business. This new paradigm results in less job availability. There was no future for me in fashion anymore. So, I started to figure out what I liked, wanted, and could do. Among others, I was interested in IT and data protection. I realized early how unsafe networks could be. I also have two kids and stand with the fact our children face privacy issues. I quit my fashion job and started an adult course for Network Administration to see if I really liked it and understand it enough to evolve in networking security.

You became a trainee at Orange Cyberdefense Belgium. What did you learn?

First, we had a general view of what Orange Cyberdefense does, what products the company sells, and their purposes. Secondly, we did some deep diving into different vendors and products to know what this software was about. Lastly, I have chosen to specialize in switching and routing to grow and learn everything from the bottom up.

You are now a network support specialist. What are your missions?

Mainly, my job consists of preparing and installing basic configurations for new switches (devices, among others, we sell to our customers), drilling cables before migration, and patching cables during a migration. I do some RMA’s for some clients. RMA means Return Merchandise Authorization; it is pretty much a replacement of broken machines. I also work on the helpdesk, being confronted with various problems. I try to figure out and learn as much as possible, with all my colleagues’ tremendous help.

What do you the most like about working in cybersecurity?

I enjoy spending time with my colleagues. I am also excited by these new challenges and for the many things I have to learn.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to start a second career in cybersecurity as you did?

I would advise you to be sure of what you are getting into, make sure you love it. If you do so, do it! Do not worry when things get complicated, support will follow.

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