Cybersecurity student transforms co-op placement into full-time job

Category: Mature learners

Category: Student Profiles

Grad spotlight: Melanie Gimoto

For Cybersecurity student Melanie Gimoto, experiential learning opportunities at Durham College (DC) – including a co-op placement – led directly to landing a job in her field upon graduation.

Originally from the Philippines, Gimoto worked as a software developer there before moving to Singapore where she worked as a software engineer and then later as a security assessor.

“That’s where my hunger to understand cybersecurity began,” she said. Gimoto decided to look for a college in Canada, ultimately selecting Durham College’s Cybersecurity (graduate certificate) program.

An honour roll student at DC, Gimoto found the school to be a vibrant and welcoming institution.

“The campus is modern and well-equipped, providing a comfortable and conducive environment for learning,” she said. “The faculty is knowledgeable and approachable, always ready to assist and guide students in their academic journeys.”

She took full advantage of practical opportunities in her program. For example, for a hacking course, she demonstrated the dangers of connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi by simulating a man-in-the-middle attack using a Wi-Fi Pineapple, a device that allows hackers to intercept messages between two parties. She said students at DC get a chance to work on real-world projects through the DC Centre for Cybersecurity Innovation.

“While studying, I was able to acquire a job in the Office of Research Services, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (ORSIE) as a cybersecurity research assistant,” she explains. “It was a really exciting role as we were developing practical solutions for partner companies, even as a student.”

Her co-op placement at CarltonOne Engagement led to a job as a cyber risk analyst.

“The role involves the sophisticated analysis of phishing emails and threat commands and ensuring that potential vulnerabilities are swiftly identified and addressed,” said Gimoto. “In addition, I conduct in-depth risk assessments providing valuable insights into the security landscape and meticulously analyze threat alerts to safeguard the organization’s digital assets and integrity.”

Her advice to students in the cybersecurity program is to look for a community to support them in their learning and she recommends joining professional groups like the Toronto chapter of ISACA, a global association for IT professionals and WiCyS (Women in Cybersecurity).

“Foster a love for learning and you’ll experience continuous growth,” she said. “That’s essential for achieving success in any field where continual learning is of utmost importance, especially in the cybersecurity landscape.”

Are you ready to start your career in IT? Check out these popular programs offered at DC in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Information Technology (SEIT):