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Coding Dojo cybersecurity alumnus Kimberly Bapple

From Geek Squad to Cybersecurity: How Kimberly Bapple Became Cyber Certified


  • Worked as a Geek Squad member at Best Buy
  • Motivated to help people, but missed IT support after leaving Best Buy
  • Tried to find a career that matched her interests and landed on cybersecurity

After Dojo

  • Technical Product Support Engineer II at F5
  • Excited to continue learning cybersecurity and move through her company’s career track

Program: Cybersecurity Online Part-Time


I am forever grateful for Coding Dojo because I don’t think people who haven’t gone to a bootcamp, who have only seen the name Coding Dojo… understand how powerful the name carries even on the resume. It’s because Coding Dojo has an amazing reputation.

Why were you looking for a career switch?

I came from a struggling home and live in poverty in Chicago with my parents. I am the first in my family to end up going to college. I had no idea what I wanted to do and ended up switching my major like five times, ended up landing on health and human sciences, and graduating in 2019 with that major. Healthcare was like helping people and I was pretty excited about that, but upon graduation, but I  was sad to leave my college job at Best Buy with Geek Squad. 

I was making okay money in the high $20s, but I simply wasn’t happy. I dug into what my interests were and asked myself those questions I wish I would’ve asked myself at 18. I liked working with technology, it was almost like a second language for me. I researched what I can do under this huge IT umbrella. 

Why Cybersecurity? 

Older people would come into Geek Squad with viruses and ransomware on their computers and be very distraught. They would give their bank account numbers to “bad actors” over the phone who would then wipe their accounts clean. Their retirement and their life savings were just swept out of their account. Seeing their faces and the pain in their eyes broke my heart. 

Those moments stayed with me. I thought to them when I was trying to figure out what am I going to do. And so that’s when I decided, how can I help fight against those bad people, those bad actors, as we like to call them? And so I was researching cybersecurity online, watching multiple YouTube videos on how to embark on a career in this.

Why Coding Dojo’s Cybersecurity Bootcamp?

It was amazing how Coding Dojo was able to serve this information to a student, knowing that a lot of people coming into this program didn’t even know anything about it; they just knew they needed a career change and wanted it now.

With the knowledge I had based on this bootcamp, I’m qualified to start in this position. So that was exciting. 

I’m super, super, super thankful that I decided to embark on this mission because my life has turned upside down. I live where I can afford a lot more things now and I’m really happy about where I’m at now. 

What Was It Like Attending a Cybersecurity Bootcamp

You can break into it with whatever works for you in your learning style. I am an all-for-nothing kind of person. I participated as much as I could and spoke in every single lecture despite it being virtual. If I’m going to embark on something, I will dedicate all my time and effort to it. And so for me, a bootcamp didn’t seem too far off.

That was probably one of the hardest few months I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. But, the information was digestible. it’s not even just information being pushed at you in PowerPoint like on YouTube.

This was digestible information from the very bottom of IT knowledge after six months to very high-level cybersecurity. It was great how the instructors were able to serve this information to students, knowing that a lot of people coming into this program didn’t even know anything about it.

A classmate actually referred me to someone in their network who referred me to the position I am in now. 

I had amazing mentors and teacher assistants, too

How did Coding Dojo’s Career Services Help?

I did work with career services and Emily P. was an amazing help in figuring out my resume, job interview prep, and finding jobs.  

I was very proactive with my meetings with my CSM. I was very much an advocate for myself and Emily was like “heck yeah, let’s do it.” She was amazing at helping me even when we were not on the Zoom calls. I shared a doc with her and we were making edits on my resume and we were just making edits together on it to buff it up and make it the best thing. 

She was incredibly thorough to make sure there wasn’t even an extra space in there that would throw off the orientation of everything. 

Super amazing at the little things I wouldn’t have known or even noticed. It was great to know how our resumes fit into the company’s systems because real people aren’t reading them; it’s all by machines so she would point out certain elements. 

Emily helped me with how to write my resume in a matter of fitting with the job description that you are applying for. She taught me how to take what I did and rewrite it to showcase the skill that I learned in my show that’s transferable to that role.

What Happened After You Graduated?

 I graduated in May and found a job by the end of June! Even when you go through the entire bootcamp, that is just starting you off within this career path. I’m still on this learning journey so I can be a better candidate in my next step. 

You’ll never know everything—you’re always learning!

What Is Your Day-to-Day Like In Your New Job?

As a Technical Product Support Engineer II at F5, I’m under the intrusion detection wing with Threat Stack which is an Intrusion Detection System (IDS). 

When clients email us about the agent they’ve installed onto their cloud containers isn’t working, I help troubleshoot. If they are concerned about vulnerabilities that just came out or bad actors trying to access their containers, we will help with how they can detect if they are vulnerable to this and set up rules and recommendations within their systems on how we can help in that fight. 

What’s your dream job? 

It’s hard because a lot of people don’t know—and what I didn’t even know when I chose cybersecurity as my career—is that there’s even a large umbrella of what you can do in Cybersecurity. You can be a Red Team, or Blue Team, on the Compliance side. There are so many avenues that you can take, but there’s a lot to consider and a lot to learn. 

My current company has a career track where I can move to be a Cybersecurity Analyst next so I am excited about that and malleable to where they see me as a good fit. 

What Advice Would Hive to Others Considering a Bootcamp?

Honestly, it’s the amount of time I kept daunting over. You have to put a lot of energy and time into learning and you have to give yourself a lot of breaks.

You can’t be so hard on yourself if you don’t understand something right away. I felt that a lot of my classmates and myIould get really down on ourselves. We’d be working on homework assignments for five, sometimes six hours trying to figure out the assignment and all we could think about at the end was that we couldn’t figure out the assignment and I need to reach out to a teacher’s assistant. But we didn’t give ourselves the benefit that we just learned a lot in the six hours.

No, we didn’t get the final answer we were looking for, but we learned how to navigate the operating system a lot better, we learned new commands tweren’tout that wasn’t needed for this assignment, need-to-know a need know! 

Be patient with yourself and also understand that it will take a lot of energy. 

The quote I kept living by “the universe will take as much energy as you put into it and launch you forward.” Keep trying and doing your best and all that energy that you are giving and just building and accumulating. Once you’re ready and done with the bootcamp it will launch you forward and all the hardship that you just went through trying to learn it will be so worth it in the end. It will work out and it will put you forward in life.

Just trust it and trust yourself.