Helping others has always been a passion for Sara Daredia. Whether it was within her religious community or her family. She quickly realized that this character trait could apply to her future career as well.
“Helping others has really been something that makes me feel purposeful and fulfilled, and I can’t find that anywhere else. That’s why I have committed to pursuing a career in cyber security where I can help protect people every single day,” said Daredia, who will receive her bachelor’s degree in cyber security this month.
When she first learned about the profession and the college’s accredited cyber security program at a high school presentation, her ears perked up at the thought of a future in cyber security.
“I became intrigued with all the information they were giving and decided to delve deeper and do more research on it ,” said Daredia. “I even talked to a couple of current students in the program. I realized how cyber security is a new and growing industry where there is still a lot to be discovered, and I wanted to be part of that discovery.”
During her time at UTSA she took advantage of all that UTSA and the Carlos Alvarez College of Business had to offer. She developed her cyber and technical skills by working as an assistant at UTSA’s Tech Cafe, where she helped resolve the technology needs of students, faculty and staff.
“I learned beneficial skills that I can take with me into my professional career,” she said. “I learned how to be detail oriented; to work in a group with different people; and how to solve problems in a timely manner.”
Last summer, Daredia was able to put these skills to work in a corporate setting at USAA where she worked as a software engineer intern.
Active with student organizations on campus, she took pride in being a member of both CompTIA and Women in Cyber Security (WICyS). For Comp TIA she organized and planned the weekly agenda, upcoming events and certification workshops for the over 300-member cyber security student organization. She joined WICyS because it brings together like-minded, goal-driven women cyber security majors who are often overshadowed in the primarily male career field.
After reflecting on her UTSA journey, Daredia will miss studying with friends at the Sombrilla and the unique culture and inclusivity that the university offers, as well as the professors that have helped her along the way.
But she looks forward to her next journey as an information security analyst with American Express in Arizona. With plans to travel this summer, she can’t wait to begin her new career and a lifetime of helping others.
“I think the best piece of advice I can give is to focus on having a diverse set of skills,” she concluded. “It’s important to be adaptable and willing to take on new challenges. Also, actively seek out feedback from mentors, peers, professors or colleagues because I know that was most helpful for me during my time at UTSA. It helped me a lot with my professional growth as well as personal growth. Never be afraid to step out of your comfort zone. It might be hard in the beginning, but it will only lead you to more opportunities.”