The Story of My Experiments with Cloud & A Shout-Out to all the Mentors
It all started when I was applying for admission at UPES, Dehradun. I made sure to my parents that I’ve to study Computer Science for sure. But here i.e. in UPES, I found a variety of specializations and that too within the Computer Science domain solely. It was very hard to choose from the 15+ branches and all of them seemed quite fascinating. I was literally confused.
Or else, what do you expect from a student who is yet to come out of his dream world. The suffixes like specialization in ‘Cyber Security & Forensics’, ‘Graphics & Gaming’, ‘Cloud Computing & Virtualization Technology’ etc can baffle anyone.
Now came the reconnaissance phase. We both (my father and I) started calling our acquaintances who were or whose guardians were pursuing B. Tech in Computer Science in order to ask which branch should be chosen. Can you spot the irony? These students of Core CS had no idea of what we were asking from them. Some of them were aware of some of the trending technologies so they came up with the single response, ‘Go with Cloud’. Apparently, everyone started suggesting cloud. They said it has a huge scope. But I perceived all of those suggestions as an outcome of mob mentality. Also, ‘Cyber Security & Forensics’ seemed more appealing to me. So, I opted for it and took the road less travelled by.
In UPES, both CCVT (Cloud Computing & Virtualization Technology) and CSF (Cyber Security & Forensics) are among the elite branches in the Computer Science domain. So, there is a sense of competition too among the students of these branches. While CCVT produces brilliant developers, on the other hand, CSF produces a variety of computer science engineers like Bug Hunters, Pentesters, Secure Coders, and Information Security Auditors. It’s not like students are restricted to their domain only, students having inter-domain interests can also be found. I’m one of them.
Throughout our first year, we didn’t have that much exposure to our specializations. We studied the core subjects along with the subjects like physics, chemistry, and maths. So, it’s during our second year when the journey really starts. We were taught subjects like Information Security Fundamentals and Data Security. So, at the end of my second year, I had a basic idea of what cybersecurity really is. During the summer vacation, I did some courses on Coursera. In order to study something related to my field, I went through the course ‘Security in Google Cloud Platform’ on Coursera itself. To be honest, it really went over my head. Because at that time I didn’t have the basic prerequisites to understand those concepts, also the environment was quite new to me. I stepped back into my domain.
During the third year, the journey of CSF students diverges into two roads. We all have to go through a certification program. Some students opt for CEH while others for ISO 27001 ISMS Lead Auditor. I opted for the latter one. I’m really grateful to our training instructor Gp Capt Mathew P Varghese (Retd) who taught us the standard and auditing practices with such an interest that all the controls are almost still vivid now. This certification further helped me to grab an internship in the information security domain only. But before that due to the insecurity created by the pandemic, I ended up passing three certification exams of OCI. Thanks to Oracle, all the exams were free of cost at that time. Now I had the theoretical perspective of the Cloud environments, but the real-time practice was still lacking. Thanks to my internship mentor Mr. Krishnanunni M.I, who gave me the opportunity to explore AWS. He made my basics strong and taught the cloud concept in depth along with the security perspective. Only due to him, I became AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner. And the quest is still going on.
And amidst this journey, I found my first gem when I got my first full-time offer during the campus placements from Deloitte India (Offices of the US) in the Risk & Financial Advisory. This was really something much more than that I could really ask for. For this, I’m really thankful to my parents, to the mentors I mentioned above, to my friends, seniors, and to everyone who helped me during my journey. And special thanks to Ms.Tripti Misra, my all-time mentor. Without her guidance, I wouldn’t have reached here. She is an integral part of our branch, Cyber Security & Forensics.
After all, this, what I realized is that we are nothing without our mentors. And anyone can be your mentor, even you can be a mentor for yourself. Without proper guidance, we are just like goldfish in an endless ocean. I’m still connected to the teachers who taught me in school. I owe a special place for all of my mentors in my heart. I see what the students saw in John Keating from the movie ‘The Dead Poets Society’ in my mentors.
O Captain my Captain!….