How the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative led one young professional to a public service career
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How the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative led one young professional to a public service career

September 5, 2023

For the past two years, Nicholas di Mauro has worked as an IT cybersecurity specialist in the Office of the Chief Information Officer at the Department of Health and Human Services. He came to this role through the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative, a Partnership for Public Service program that places recent college graduates in two-year fellowships at federal agencies. 

Di Mauro’s positive experience at HHS inspired him to remain at the agency after his time in CTI ended. He spoke to us about his time in CTI and why he would encourage those interested in a cyber career to apply.

This transcript has been lightly edited for clarity.  

What about CTI appealed to you? 

The cybersecurity field requires continual learning to stay up to date with new systems and tools. No other program offered the learning opportunities that CTI did, both as a recent graduate and as someone just entering the cybersecurity workforce.  

How did CTI enable you to network with other cyber professionals? 

The program gave participants the opportunity to meet and discuss their work so they could learn from each other. CTI also brought in experienced cyber professionals to share their perspectives on our next steps and on how we could succeed both as cyber professionals and as managers in general. If not for CTI, I never would have had the chance to make such interesting connections, such as Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist.  

What are the benefits of starting a career through CTI as opposed to going your own way? 

CTI gave me the resources to plan my next career steps and learn what I could do to make myself a good candidate for this work. Without CTI, I would’ve had a much more difficult time finding my sense of direction, figuring out what certifications I needed and identifying the soft skills to help my career.  

What was your biggest accomplishment working at HHS? 

I co-led the Continuous Education Site project, which created a central location of shared resources for cybersecurity staff to brush up on their cyber skills or prepare for their next certification. Not only did I assist in creating a site that would be helpful to me as I developed cyber skills, but I created something that could help anyone else who had similar questions or sought useful tools for their projects.  

Why were you interested in continuing a career in public service? 

I believe in the work that I do as a federal employee—everything I do is meaningful and supports the broader public. HHS is also one of the best environments I’ve ever worked in. Everyone I’ve met, regardless of their level, has been more than willing to help me solve problems or explain difficult concepts. I am eager to learn more from them as I continue this work.  

What would you say to encourage someone to apply to CTI? 

You should apply if you are at all interested in a cybersecurity career. It’s okay if you don’t have that much experience with technical cyber skills—you’ll learn those during the program. CTI gives you the opportunity to learn while making important connections that you wouldn’t make anywhere else.  

Applications for the Cybersecurity Talent Initiative are open now. Visit GoGovernment to learn more about the program and start your application today.  

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