For Cybersecurity Certificate Program graduate, Tania Allen, what began as a career step turned out to be a giant professional leap forward leading to a new business opportunity. The IT professional with a decade of experience, who had taken several years’ break to raise her children, signed up for the certificate program at Georgia Tech Professional Education (GTPE) to become current in her field. But as she progressed through the dynamic five-course program, she saw the chance to reinvent herself and plot a unique career path as an entrepreneur.
Today, she runs ItGresa Consulting Group, an IT services company she founded soon after completing the program.
Allen credits GTPE’s Cybersecurity Certificate Program for preparing her to take on this challenge. “The program gave me the confidence to start my own company,” she said. “I’ve used what I’ve learned to create service products for small businesses and home networks that I can market to potential clients.”
Originally from Venezuela, where she worked in the oil industry, Allen identified a need in the market that her company is ideally positioned to meet. “Since I’m from South America, one of my areas of specialization is the Latin American community, which is an underserved demographic, especially in IT and cybersecurity,” she explained.
Courses leading to the Cybersecurity Certificate Program at GTPE are held at the Global Learning Center on Tech Square, Atlanta’s technology innovation hub. Allen found the traditional classroom format ideal because she was able to interact face-to-face with instructors and other learners. She also appreciated the applied learning aspect of the program.
"Not only are the instructors the best in the industry, but the labs are hands on and you get real-life experience using the techniques you're taught," she noted. "It's not only about academics but also about effectively using the tools to achieve a goal."
Contributions from other learners can be particularly valuable because of the diverse backgrounds and work experience they bring to a class, which Allen found to be true in her case. “My classmates came from industry and government, so the knowledge and real-life experiences they shared in class enriched my learning,” she said.
Now that she’s earned a prestigious Georgia Tech credential and launched her own business, what’s next for this forward-thinking entrepreneur? Considering the fast-paced nature of her field and the constantly evolving cyber threats businesses face, Allen believes that professional education is crucial for her future success.
“When it comes to IT, you can’t stop learning. I plan to take more courses to stay up to date in cybersecurity and to learn more about mobile security. I’m also planning on taking some business classes." she said. "I’d love to see what GTPE has to offer!”