Chrissa Constantine

I am currently a consultant for a company in silicon valley, working as a penetration tester.

How did you get involved with cybersecurity?

I was working for Indian Health Service and I had a friend and colleague who was working with me. She worked in QA and I was working in a software development department for the electronic health record. She guided me and gave me a lot of information about hacking and about information security. That’s what led to further exploration in that area.

How did you hear about ECCU?

It took me a little bit of time. It wasn’t until I started working for the Department of Defense as a consultant that I came to realize there are a set of industry standards certifications that are required to perform information assurance duties. With that came a broader understanding of EC-Council and that’s what really launched my exploration into the top certifications. ECCU teaches CEH which is part of the DOD directive. [The DOD has] a table that has a number of required certifications that are dependent upon job title.

When I saw CEH, I thought, I need to look into that and I need to see what the organization is about. Some of the other people that I worked with had mentioned EC-Council University and that launched my exploration of what ECCU was about.

How has your education from ECCU helped you with your day-today job?

It gave me the technical foundation that I require to perform the duties for each consulting position that I have had. I found that prior to [attending ECCU], I didn’t have a strong technical background. Having the ECCU course material, I was able to really enhance my understanding and it made me very successful. It helped me get the current position I have now in Pen testing.”

How long did it take to complete the ECCU program?

It was about a 2 year span to complete the entire program. I worked full time and so the thing I loved about the program is I was able to do full time work; and I was able to pursue my studies on my own time at my own pace. It was really helpful for me to manage and balance both worlds.

If you could change anything about the ECCU program, what would it be?

I felt like my course studies were very complete. The one thing I would say is that I loved the labs and I would add more hands on labs. You do provide that now but there is always room to have more of that.

How has the ECCU staff helped you while attending the University?

My professors were incredible. I was able to reach out to them whenever I needed guidance on a project. I was able to get a lot of support in information and resources that I could use to do my homework. I did not have a prior history in IT or infosec, so I relied on the materials, the links and the resources that [ECCU] provided to guide me. I felt [instructors] were very responsive and always available. In terms of the rest of the staff at ECCU, whenever I had a question it was always answered immediately. [They] were always very warming, welcoming, and supportive.

As a woman, do you face any difficulties in your line of work?

I think, as a woman, it’s important to have technical skills. There were times when communicating with engineers or other infosec professionals, if I turned it back around to the degree program that I went through at ECCU; The degree program gave me that technical foundation so that I can speak competently and confidently about technical things.

What advice would you give someone who is thinking about attending ECCU?

The advice I would give for someone who is contemplating attending would be to make a roadmap and plan out appropriate time for your studies. It is important that with any degree program you are required to do work, write papers, do research, get into the labs and perform technical work within the lab. That takes time. For me, because I worked full time and I attended the University, it required me to map out my schedule. I would tell other students to think about how much time you are going to require to really be successful for your coursework and plan accordingly.