From Saving Lives to Saving Data: How an EMT Became a Cybersecurity Professional and Quadrupled His Salary After Completing the C|EH
Country: United State
It’s the story everyone’s talking about: Manuel Aguilar, a former EMT, trained to become a cybersecurity analyst and quadrupled his income. And it’s all thanks to one certification—the Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH). Aguilar’s journey began when he realized the difficult career path he had chosen wasn’t paying the bills. But with the help of a friend and some hard work, he obtained the C|EH and landed his dream job in cybersecurity. Not only has the certification given him the necessary skills to succeed in the industry, it also helped him to secure a position as a cybersecurity analyst. Now, with over 10 years of experience in hacking and multiple cybersecurity jobs under his belt, Aguilar shares his success story and the benefits of the C|EH and how he is also teaching Red Teaming to his SOC analyst colleagues at work and also on YouTube to everyone.
Is C|EH Worth It?
I was an EMT on the ambulance for 8 years, and it was tough, concerning income too. C|EH gave me the advantage of getting my foot in the door and starting as a cybersecurity analyst. So since then, my pay has quadrupled.
Tell us about your journey as a cybersecurity professional.
Hi, guys. My name is Manuel Aguilar. I was an EMT on the ambulance for eight years. I was working in a previous career. The money was not great. It was just very, very difficult.
Difficult career. I reached out to a buddy, who mentioned these certifications, and I just started grinding my certifications.
So, from there, I went to work for an MSP. I was on the clock; I was doing helpdesk tickets. And then, after that, I transitioned into cybersecurity. But before I did that, I told my boss I was working on my C|EH.
So since then, my pay has quadrupled. So, it’s definitely a motivator, you know.
If you’re feeling low or in a career where you feel stuck, definitely reach out there. Cybersecurity is definitely the place to be, and I love it.
What caught your attention about the C|EH program?
One, the name. It’s pretty cool. Two, I was just reviewing, you know, the stuff about the course; it was just very, very challenging, and I wanted to take on the challenge. So that’s what I did. Another thing that really caught my attention: I have kids, and they offer the option of self-study, and all the IT certifications that I have are from self-study.
So basically, I was going through the course, and I could pause and play the videos as I watched. I watched them at night, which was unique and perfect for my schedule
How has the C|EH benefitted your career?
So, the C|EH benefited me a lot. I’ve been on and off in the hacking scene for about 10 to 15 years. But what really benefitted me is that I always had an interest in hacking. At the time, I didn’t know hackers were important in cybersecurity. But if you think about it, it makes sense. You need to fight hackers with hackers. So good hackers can fight off bad hackers. You can understand their concept and how they are infiltrating the network and basically just going from there.
I used to be very, very nervous about red team stuff and hacking, but the C|EH has helped me become more comfortable with that subject,
and it’s benefited me so well to where I train all of my SOC analysts at work on red team material. I teach them all of the exploits, and I’ll go and edit the malicious code and show them what the bad guys are doing. And also it’s made me comfortable enough to where I started my own YouTube channel, and I’m teaching purple team concepts not only to my coworkers but anybody who wants to access that type of material.
I actually do see value in the cert when it comes time for recruiters and bosses looking for jobs. That certification stood out whenever it was time for me to apply.
Did the C|EH help you get higher pay, a promotion, or a job you wanted?
Yes, the C|EH actually did. It helped me a lot. As I mentioned previously, I just told my cybersecurity boss that I was working on it, and that was an advantage to me because I was able to get the job. The C|EH Master has helped me get other cybersecurity jobs as well. So it helps a lot. It’s fantastic.
How has the C|EH certification impacted you?
So the C|EH has impacted me very well. At my last two cyber security jobs, they told me I’d hit the ground running. As soon as I started, I was able to go in there. I was able to analyze alarms and be very comfortable with the purple team side of things, which is the red and blue team.
and I’m just so comfortable around that stuff to where not only am I teaching/training all my SOC analysts on this type of material, but I also teach it online on YouTube
Did the C|EH help you give back to the community in any way?
Yes, the C|EH did help me give back.
I’m preparing some of the SOC individuals just on that red team material, so they’re aware.
So, there’s that and then in my family and friends, I’m known as the cybersecurity guy. So whenever people potentially are compromised or whatever, they’ll call me, and I’ll give them the best advice. So you know, during work, I’m a cybersecurity analyst, and I guess you could say after work, I’m a consultant for peers and family.
What was your favorite part of the C|EH program? Please explain why.
My favorite part was the hands-on hacking. I had a lot of fun learning about rats, room access, and trojans, creating them, and dropping them on my victim’s machine. I just had a lot of fun.
With that, another favorite thing that I liked about this course. I have kids; I have a busy life, as a lot of other people do. I’m very grateful that EC Council offered the option to do the self-study. so where I was able to study at night and go at my own pace. All of the IT certifications that I have are the same routes. I’m going at my own pace. I’m studying every night and learning. So I’m very grateful that that option was available for me.
Do you attribute any part of your success to the EC-Council? If so, do you have a message for the EC-Council team?
I’m just a lot more comfortable around the red team stuff now. I’m so comfortable, as I mentioned previously, that I teach all my SOC analyst stuff whenever I see exploits coming in or whenever I see potential exploits or scans or anything, I’m able to teach them and show them, you know. If you want a good excellent network defense, it’s good to have strong soldiers, and if your SOC analysts are trained in both red and blue teams, it’ll make a strong network.
My message to EC Council is basically just thank you from the bottom of my heart for offering the option to do the study at your own pace. It’s benefited me the most, and I’m sure it will benefit other individuals as well.
Certified Ethical Hacker (C|EH)
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