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From gaming enthusiast to cybersecurity professional

​​Nabeel standing outside

Nabeel is a student speaker at the Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media graduation (Photo by Keeton Holder/DePaul University).
Nabeel Sohail, Jarvis College of Computing and Digital Media
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity and a minor in Computer Science
Hometown: Chicago

Why cybersecurity? Did a childhood experience spark your college major or career path?

When I was younger, my parents gave me a laptop, and I often played video games like Club Penguin and Roblox. I broke the computer a few times trying to install mods, but instead of crying about it, I learned to fix it myself. I was inspired by online groups and games like Watchdogs, which led me to realize I could pursue a career in cybersecurity, protecting and testing systems.

What is your favorite memory of your time at DePaul?

I think all the late nights of doing labs are some of my favorite memories, because I really enjoy doing it. I remember myself staying up until 2 or 3 a.m. doing some of the labs. The labs are like step-by-step instruction guides for industry-specific tasks. It provides commands and sometimes requires you to come up with your own, making it a hands-on learning experience. This approach is fantastic for beginners because it guides you through each step, helping you understand and troubleshoot effectively. Compared to other schools' project-based learning, where you're often left to figure things out on your own, DePaul’s method ensures you know exactly what you're doing at each stage. I had a blast going and getting through them.

What are you going to do next once you graduate?

I'm looking to join the workforce as soon as possible. I want to do something either as a cybersecurity analyst or related to incident response, which involves responding to cyberattacks and breaches and helping clients. Something like that would be awesome.

What advice do you have for incoming students?

Develop yourself outside the classroom. If you can maintain sufficient grades, explore your passions first. I believe in focusing on personal and professional development outside of school. It's okay to occasionally prioritize experiences like spending time with family or attending industry events over perfect grades. Engaging with the community and networking at events can provide valuable insights and skills that traditional coursework might not offer. Professors often appreciate and support this proactive approach to learning and growth. Don't worry about money; if you find your passion, you'll find a way to succeed. Find out who you are, then go from there.

Meet more of the class of 2024 here.