From Sportsman to Cybersecurity Engineer – Former National Bowler Pursues A 180 Career Switch
Introducing another outstanding trainee from Red Alpha’s Alpha Specialist Training Programme (ASTP) Cohort 02, Howard Saw! Hailing from a background of a national-bowler-turned-coach, the 29-year-old former SEA Games Gold Medalist seemed like an uncanny candidate to blossom into a budding cybersecurity professional. Despite all odds, Howard will soon be commencing his role as Cybersecurity Engineer at Kiteworks!
How has Howard come so far to become a part of the cybersecurity scene? What’s his secret recipe for success? Here's what he has to say.
What spurred you to jump into cybersecurity?
My first exposure to cybersecurity was during my time as a National Serviceman, where I came across a few articles introducing cybersecurity. The articles piqued my interest, although I was hesitant to explore a different career path with my long history in bowling. The idea never left though, and I continued to research on a career in cybersecurity. I realised that diving into cybersecurity entails a lot of challenges and picking up new knowledge, which is something that is of great appeal to me as a person who loves to challenge myself to new heights.
When COVID-19 hit its peak, I came to the realisation that my career as a bowling coach was not stable and that I did not want to be stuck as a coach for the next decade. With that in mind, I decided to make the jump into cybersecurity!
Why did you pick Red Alpha ASTP as your entry point into cybersecurity?
I did some research on the cybersecurity courses offered in Singapore, but most of them were on a part-time or full-time basis, which was rather inconvenient for me as it was difficult for me to balance both my work and studies. Red Alpha ASTP provided the solution to my problem – not only is the support system fantastic, the study allowance trainees receive every month allows us to really focus on our learning. It really is nothing short of professional!
What do you enjoy about being a trainee of Red Alpha ASTP?
The culture here is great! I was initially struggling with imposter syndrome due to my lack of IT background, especially when I compared myself to all the other outstanding trainees who have been pursuing a career in IT and cybersecurity since their days as a student. I managed to overcome my insecurities with the help of my classmates and trainers – my classmates were motivated to always give their all, which fueled my determination to challenge myself and not dwell on my own handicaps, and the trainers are very professional and supportive as well!
While the 4-month bootcamp has been very intensive and tiring, I really enjoyed my time learning here as a trainee of ASTP! I always look forward to going to the Red Alpha Office every morning. If I were to sum up my experience at ASTP in three words, they would be: engaging, inspiring and exciting – the lessons were engaging, my classmates were inspiring and the whole journey has been nothing short of exciting!
As someone who stepped foot into a profession without prior experience, what is a piece of advice you would give to those who want to make a career switch but are hesitant to do so?
The fun is in the fear! Cybersecurity might seem like a daunting industry but the journey is fruitful and the goal is great. Take that leap of fear and learn and experience things you have never thought to experience before. New experiences are always fun!
At Red Alpha ASTP, we encourage our students to step out of their comfort zones and try out new experiences, for we are there to guide them through it. We are incredibly proud of Howard for coming this far, and we are excited to see where he will go from here! We are happy to embrace more trainees like Howard, and be a part of your growth in our training programme.