“Faces of the Journey” is a series that highlights individuals in the network engineering community. The journey is the path we take through our careers, and it can be very different for each of us. While the destination is important, it’s all about the journey!
Luis, a.k.a NetSecWheezy, has a very busy life all of the sudden. He is in the process of starting a new professional journey. Not only is he going from a SOC Analyst to a Network/Security Administrator, but he is moving from South Texas to Arizona to do so! Previous to the most recent roles, Luis got his start in IT with a helpdesk role. Before venturing into IT, Luis sold ice cream. One day while working at a baseball game, Luis ran into someone who worked in IT at a company where Luis once had an internship. After exchanging information, Luis ended up getting a call and got his start as a contractor with a helpdesk. Outside of Luis’ control, the beginning was not exactly smooth. Many times he was told that it could be his last week or even last day! Eventually he was brought on into a full-time role managing fifteen sites and two mobile units on his own. Luis has had a passion for IT since around the age of eight. He started watching YouTube videos to see how computers work, and then would play some harmless pranks on his family. Security was Luis’ main love, then in college, he was introduced to Cisco. He was fascinated by what he was learning, which led him to achieve the CCNA certification. Luis has been striving to get into a network/security role and is very excited to get started in his new position. Being able to support his family and live a good life in which he can travel is the ultimate goal.
Alright Luis, We’ve Got Some Questions
What advice do you have for aspiring IT professionals? The advice I have for aspiring IT professionals is to never give up. I know it is very easy to doubt yourself, but we must break down these walls if we want to follow our dreams. We can all succeed in this field, there are more than enough opportunities if you want them. I will be honest in that self-doubt slowed down me following my dreams. It does not have to slow you down. I believe in each one of you.
What is something you enjoy doing outside of work? Something I really enjoy outside of work is to travel. I have not been many places, but it feels surreal when I get to travel and see new places and experience new things. I always dreamed of traveling and thanks to the IT field I have been able to follow through on my dreams. I also love the Dallas cowboys and consider myself a super fan. Every game I’ll be watching no matter the outcome. I have been to their stadium a few times and it is mind blowing to me each time.
How did you figure out that information technology was the best career path for you? I just realized it was something I wanted to do. It just was amazing to me. I wasn’t always sure exactly what I wanted to do but I knew that it had to be something with computers. I was always trying to learn about them and learn what they did. I still remember using a computer we had that was Windows 95. I think my big moment came when I got into college that realized I could do this. I went through a cybersecurity and networking degree program at a local community college and if I remember correctly, we had about 60-70 students and only 8 graduated. I admit I struggled a lot that first semester but after that I really started hitting the books and managed to excel after that. I knew that I could do this from that moment on. Eventually it lead to me getting my CCNA and Security+ certifications.
What is your favorite part about working in IT? My favorite part of working in this field is that it seems that two days are never the same and there’s always so much to learn. This field is constantly growing everyday and it is amazing to be a part of it. When I was in helpdesk, I loved being able to solve people’s issues and just speaking to them. I went through so many experiences in my time working in this field. My favorite thing is just learning about all the new security trends and things that are happening in security and knowing that I’m a line in the defense against malicious actors makes me feel proud.
What motivates you on a daily basis? What motivates me is my wonderful girlfriend. She stood by me when I did not make enough money to buy food sometimes and she has been with me through so much. She has always pushed me to follow my dreams and aspirations and has always taught me to believe in myself even when times are hard. I owe a lot of my success to her and to my family for all the support. I am nowhere close to being done with my journey yet though. Another motivation is when someone tells me that I cannot do something, I tend to draw a lot of energy from those words to prove them wrong not for them but for myself. You should never listen when someone tries to put you down.
Luis is an incredible person with a story that proves that the journey is rarely a straight and narrow path. He has been through so much throughout his life and doesn’t seem to waste time complaining, but rather focuses his energy on growing professionally. The production of this article came during a really exciting time for Luis. I started talking with him right before he interviewed for his new position so I got to hear about the entire process. It was really neat for me to essentially get to experience the suspense and eventual joy when he was awarded the job. With the effort and passion he has put into his career, it is awesome to see him get to take this next step. Luis, however, is not selfish with his passion for IT/networking. He is constantly contributing to the “It’s All About the Journey” Discord channel by providing thoughts, insight, and endless encouragement to others in the community. It has been a pleasure getting to know Wheezy. We all wish him luck with the next chapter in his life, and know that he will excel.