Making Moves

Overseas Graduate Kristine Diomampo Never Dreamed of a Cybersecurity Career

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Kristine Diomampo is farther from Georgia Tech’s Atlanta campus than most of her fellow spring graduates. Her home and job in Hong Kong is more than 8,300 miles away and a 12-hour time difference. But the Philippines native didn’t let that become a barrier to her earning an online Master of Science degree in Cybersecurity (OMS Cyber).

Kristine’s grad school experience has been like a self-feeding loop – go online for class, learn through her projects and peers, integrate that new knowledge at work, then rinse and repeat. Adding to that virtuous cycle was a promotion at her job, where she is now an IT security auditor.

Originally armed with a bachelor’s in accountancy, Kristine’s first job out of college was at an assurance and tax services firm as an IT auditor – it was the only job opening the firm had available. Her subsequent IT and business background in banking and insurance led her to Hong Kong. Now, almost five years later, Kristine has her sights set on becoming a cybersecurity analyst or consultant and then maybe a move to cybersecurity management or architecture.

Her love of learning will continue (she lives and breathes IT when not traveling or writing) with a pile of books and certifications awaiting her after graduation as she continues studying cybersecurity.

Kristine has a claim on a new part of Georgia Tech history in earning her recent degree – she is one of the first three women to complete the OMS Cyber program. All three are spring 2021 graduates. Kristine can take pause to marvel at this accomplishment and look back to where it all started with the happy accident of an accountant getting into IT. – JP


Program highlights: I always thought I had very poor technical cybersecurity skills and I wasn’t confident in what I knew. I’ve never hacked nor coded anything; all I knew about security vulnerabilities were theoretical. But through the course, I was able to work on a variety of projects that allowed me to discover on my own how to crack passwords or how buffer overflows work. The sense of accomplishment in successfully completing projects encouraged me to continue with my courses and the program. I was also able to apply what I learned from the program to my job, further solidifying what I learned in class. The program gave me the structure I needed to expand my learning, and I can use that to boost any further independent learning that I wish to pursue.

Parting Advice: It can be easy to feel isolated and alone as you tackle your projects and assignments. Afterall, the program delivery is online and your classmates are scattered all over the world. This is where you take advantage of communication tools to build connections with other people in the program. Many late night study sessions were made more fun by talking with other people, and there were those that provided much needed guidance and encouraging words (even humor) when my projects wouldn’t work. Just because the program is online doesn’t mean that meaningful friendships can’t be made. So feel free to reach out to your classmates and even find a study buddy or two!

What’s Next: I actually got promoted at work because of the program! Because I was pursuing a masters in cybersecurity, I was given the opportunity to move from being a generalist IT auditor to being an IT security auditor and working on more technical assignments. This was even before I graduated! I plan to hone my cybersecurity technical skills even more (I already have a pile of security books to go through) and to pursue security certifications. I hope to someday move into information security operations in my organization and have hands-on experience on implementing controls in the workplace.