14th October 2023

From Dish washer to Cyber Security Expert, Michelle’s personal journey

Michelle Marcian
Cyber Security Specialist

Growing up in a family that owned a beloved Italian restaurant and pasta manufacturing business, my passion for food and hospitality was ingrained from an early age. With a degree in Business Administration and the intention of taking over the family business alongside my brother, the path seemed set. However, in 2018, as I completed my master's degree, a desire for new experiences led me to make a bold decision. I ventured into the world of telecommunications, joining P3, now known as Umlaut or Accenture. This unexpected career shift not only introduced me to the realms of IT and cyber security but also provided me with valuable insights into managing IT customers. It was an exhilarating and transformative journey into the technical field.

From Project Manager to Cybersecurity Specialist: Embracing New Opportunities at Vodafone:

After a year working in the family business, a feeling of restlessness and unfulfillment began to creep in. Taking my mother's advice to heart, I decided to pivot and embraced a fresh career as a project manager at P3. The telecommunications industry was a whole new world for me, initially overwhelming, but I am grateful for the belief and support extended by my manager, Caglar, who entrusted me with the role. While the first year presented its challenges, I eventually found my rhythm and experienced a sense of fulfilment in my daily work.

In 2021, an exciting opportunity arose as I transitioned from a consulting role to become a cybersecurity specialist at Vodafone Germany. Rapidly immersing myself in the intricacies of this domain, I swiftly became a sought-after expert in Antivirus and Endpoint Protection. My dedication and competence were recognised, leading to a well-deserved promotion within just 18 months, elevating me to the esteemed position of a cybersecurity expert. Continuously honing my skills on the job, I recently celebrated the accomplishment of passing my CISM exam, which will be officially conferred upon me in May 2024. Immersed in the dynamic world of cybersecurity, I find myself brimming with passion and excitement, continually fuelled by the guidance and encouragement of my exceptional team and managers.

Embracing the Journey: Transitioning Towards Cybersecurity:

The drastic transition from crafting and selling handmade pasta to tackling cybersecurity threats was undoubtedly a formidable challenge. However, my tenure at Vodafone has proven to be an invaluable source of self-learning and on-the-job training, enabling me to swiftly adapt to unfamiliar territories. The ever-evolving digital landscape demands adaptability, and I am grateful for the extraordinary journey thus far, as well as the unwavering support from my mentors along the way.

Navigating the switch from the gastronomy sector to the telco industry and cybersecurity entailed grappling with a lack of technical knowledge and unfamiliarity with technical terminology. During the initial year, I found myself in meetings with customers and team members who effortlessly conversed in a technical language that felt alien to me. Nevertheless, I approached this challenge with an unwavering determination. Actively seeking clarification when confronted with unfamiliar terms and dedicating personal time outside of work to study and familiarise myself with the essential vocabulary became my steadfast commitment. I firmly believe that success in any field is attained through a perpetual hunger for knowledge and the transformation into an expert, nurtured by unwavering dedication and resolute effort.

Embarking on a Journey of Growth and Possibility:

Working as a project manager at P3 laid the foundation for my journey, furnishing me with invaluable experience that seamlessly transitioned into my role as a cybersecurity specialist at Vodafone Germany. Despite my initial intimidation in venturing into an entirely novel industry, I soon realised that with excellent training and the unwavering support of my colleagues, the path to success was paved. Today, I take immense pride in the accomplishments I have garnered in the realm of cybersecurity, while eagerly anticipating the continuous expansion of my knowledge and expertise in this ever-evolving field of possibility.

In the grand tapestry of life, it is often the unexpected detours that lead us to the most extraordinary destinations. My newfound career path has instilled in me a sense of purpose, ignited a passion for the multifaceted world of cybersecurity, and emboldened me to keep exploring uncharted territories. With each new challenge and triumph, I am reminded of the boundless growth that awaits, and I am excited to embrace the infinite possibilities that lay before me.