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Florida MMA Fighter Turned Cybersecurity Guru Helps Fill Cybersecurity Talent Gap | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #hacking | #aihp

Sedric Louissaint knows what it’s like to have to fight for opportunities.

A professional mixed martial arts fighter (MMA), Louissaint started his mixed martial arts journey in his early teens and took a momentary step back from pursuing his dreams of becoming a world champion after becoming a teen father. Since then, he has found his calling in cybersecurity.

He has worked with companies across a broad range of industries to secure the confidentiality, integrity, and availability of their data and services. Throughout his career, Sedric has worked with various clients within large corporations, government agencies, critical infrastructure, and non-profit organizations. Now, he wants to help others discover their own passion for the industry and land well-paying jobs in this fast-growing field.

According to recent statistics, there are more than 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity positions around the world. Over 500,000 of these are in the US. Employment in computer and information technology occupations is projected to grow 13% through 2026, faster than the average for all occupations, says the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

As data breaches and cyberattacks become increasingly frequent and sophisticated, the talent shortage leaves many organizations vulnerable. The continuing labor shortage in the states could also spell disaster for businesses if crucial cybersecurity roles are unstaffed or understaffed.

This skills gap has allowed Greater Orlando-based Louissaint to leverage his experiences of overcoming adversity to open opportunities for others.

Louissaint’s story is one of perseverance and determination through difficult circumstances. Born to immigrant parents from Cuba and Haiti, Louissaint grew up in Brooklyn, New York, struggling with poverty. After his family moved to Florida, he became a teen father and was forced to get his life on track quickly to support his new family.

While balancing school, work, and fatherhood as a teen, Louissaint also pursued MMA fighting. His ability to juggle competing demands and commitments at a young age would serve him well as he pursued his education and career.

“Before I moved to Florida, at one point, I lived with my mom, two brothers, and sister out of the car.” he says. “She worked multiple jobs while caring for her four kids and went to school full time. That has always inspired me.”

Louissaint has earned degrees and certifications in cybersecurity, gaining years of experience in technical and management roles providing IT and information security solutions to clients.

“There’s no such thing as ‘quit.’ You don’t quit. You work hard to get the things you want in life.”

Today, Louissaint is a cyber security subject matter expert with 2 CVEs and over 100 discovered zero-day vulnerabilities to his credit. He is also an entrepreneur, real estate investor, and music producer — a man of many talents.

His background as a self-made man who overcame complex challenges in life to succeed in his career makes him an inspiration to others seeking to achieve their dreams and goals. It also gives him the authority to share his skills with the world.

Through his business Show Up Show Out Security (SUSOS), Louissaint’s new mentorship program provides hands-on technical training and soft skills coaching to prepare students for entry-level cybersecurity roles. Launched April 24, it aims to build confidence and open paths for career changers and newcomers to transition into this fast-growing occupation.

“When I was getting into the field, I didn’t have a mentor,” he says, “and that’s the one thing I wish I did have. Someone to actually walk me through the process.”

Louissaint says he paid tens of thousands of dollars for programs that were just recorded videos when trying to learn cybersecurity lessons independently.

“They didn’t contextualize my situation or personify what I was going through. So, there were many things I couldn’t relate to or apply because they didn’t apply to my situation.”

He wants to ensure students of his course are getting everything they need from their training.

“It took me years of training to learn about the right specific topics to study, and I had to put it together on my own. So, I’ve developed a mentorship and masterclass curriculum based on the different domains of cybersecurity. These are completely tailored to each individual student and their goals.”

Louissaint knows that programs like his can help diversify the talent pipeline and bring more people into this critical, fast-growing occupation.

So where does this leave MMA? According to Louissaint, it is still on the cards.

“Fighting is my end goal,” he says. “To win a world championship — that’s always been my dream, even as a child.”

The focus is on helping people obtain financial freedom by getting into the lucrative field of cybersecurity. Concurrently, he is working toward achieving his dream of becoming a world champion.

In the meantime, Sedric Louissaint’s fighting spirit lives on through his mission to open opportunities for others and prepare the next generation of cybersecurity defenders.

McClatchy newsroom and editorial staff were not involved in the creation of this content.

Originally published

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