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How Nicole Cheong Made a Career-Switch to Cyber in her 50s - Meet the Alphas

Ms Nicole Cheong, 51, has reframed her mindset in her current role as an associate cybersecurity specialist at Red Alpha Cybersecurity. Thank you to The Straits Times for featuring our incredible Alpha Nicole in light of International Woman's Day 2024!

Meet Nicole - our awesome Alpha from the 6th cohort of our Alpha Specialist Training Programme (ASTP)! We are thrilled that she has been featured in an article by The Straits Times for IWD 2024. As a former entrepreneur who owned a dance-focused business and had little background knowledge in cybersecurity, find out how Nicole uncovers the importance of staying resourceful and creative when navigating through obstacles throughout a career switch!

What was the turning point for you to take a leap into the cybersecurity industry -despite little to no experience in the field?

Before taking the leap to join the ASTP programme, Nicole was an entrepreneur running a ballet school. When COVID hit, Nicole decided to sell her ballet school of 5 years to spend more time with her children.

Despite going through a steep learning curve with little cybersecurity background knowledge, Nicole admits “I’m quite in love with it”, and shares about her fearless transition into cybersecurity with optimism and ambition. Now at Red Alpha, she is studying for OffSec’s Offensive Security Certified Professional certification, part of the curriculum for the Alpha Specialist Training Programme, and will then go on to do an industry placement of three years.

Shattering stereotypes and expectations on middle-aged women, Nicole shares a few encouraging and uplifting words:

"I believe life begins at 50. This is a time when you're old enough, with a wealth of experience, and young enough to learn new things.
Why would someone hire a 50 year old? I would think it is really the lived experience and broader perspective. So don't discount yourself. It's about how you do things differently to make an impact."

Nicole at Red Alpha's Singapore Office
Nicole at Red Alpha's Singapore Office

What is her view on being a middle-aged woman wanting to make a career-switch?

“It’s time for me to make a contribution back to society. There’s still gas in the tank and tech is something I’ve always been very passionate about”, says Nicole, adding that she has hopes to work in planning and consulting in cybersecurity law.

Previously working as a systems analyst with HP prior to her entrepreneurship journey, Nicole has chosen this path because she truly believes that she can have an impact on the tech and cybersecurity community.

We are inspired by Nicole's optimism about her career prospects and we share her enthusiasm for her bright future ahead as a cybersecurity specialist! Read the full published feature on The Straits Times here:

If you feel inspired by Nicole's growth and are looking to transition into the cyber landscape, Red Alpha's programmes can support your journey. With one piece of advice for interested applicants, Nicole shares:

“Just try to be adventurous! While the assignments themselves are all very challenging, I think many times, there are also different ways to go about solving the same problem.”

Watch the full video of Nicole's Meet-The-Alphas series here:


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