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Nishant Pillai

Cybersecurity Director
Capgemini America
Nishant Pillai headshot
Nishant Pillai headshot
Sector
Education Pathway

I help organizations protect their computer and networking systems from potential hackers and cyberattacks.

About me

I was born/grew up in: Mumbai, India

I now live in: Cincinnati, OH, USA

I completed my training/education at: Bachelor of Engineering - Electronics (with specialization in Computer Science), University of Mumbai, India

What I do at work

I manage a large team of people who build and deliver cybersecurity solutions to our clients. What that actually means is, I work with companies and people to keep them, their applications, their data and their tools safe online.

The internet, computers, smartphones and tablets, have connected our world in a way that was not possible 10 or 20 years ago. On a personal level, we have amazing tools at our disposal to connect with our friends, families and the larger world. Whether it’s posting a video on TikTok, Snapchat or Youtube, or a picture on Instagram. On a corporate level, companies run their entire businesses online. You can bank online, shop online, order food online, talk to a doctor online, or conduct all your meetings online.

The recent global pandemic has only increased our online presence. Our need to stay connected through the internet has enabled this in amazing ways. Unfortunately, this also provides opportunities to bad actors to misuse this connected highway. These misuses include things like hacking websites, stealing personal data, cyberbullying, or introducing computer viruses and malware.

So, I help advise companies and people on how to keep themselves safe from these bad actors. With my STEM background, I use my computer science, engineering and technical skills to build and install hardware and software tools. These tools connect with the internet and the companies’ technology infrastructure to automate, prevent, and detect any bad behaviour.

Along with my team, I work with hospitals, banks, utility companies, social media companies, manufacturing companies and more, to keep them and their users safe.

My career path is

From childhood, I knew I enjoyed building things. I had a lot of LEGOs! In high school, as I got into science and math, I enjoyed it so much that I knew I wanted to be an engineer. When I got into engineering, I decided on the  . Once I graduated, I joined a large company where I became a software engineer. After a few years of programming and developing software, as the internet began to play a larger role in our lives, I was attracted to the cybersecurity field. In summary, my STEM subjects in high school, combined with my STEM engineering degree, and my career as a computer programmer eventually got me to where I am today.

I am motivated by

Right from when I was a kid, I enjoyed building stuff. In my current job, I get to do what I was doing as a kid. Building stuff, but in a much larger way, that affects the world and changes it for the better. It’s exciting to use my engineering skills to design and build new solutions, then test and deploy them for others. The thrill of identifying a problem, analyzing it, devising a solution, building and testing the solution, then seeing the problem resolved, is very motivating and keeps me going every day.

How I affect people’s lives

As the world has embraced the internet and moved online, especially since the ongoing pandemic, what I do directly affects people’s lives. By helping keep the community safe online, I am trying my best to help people be online without worrying about bad actors. I’m helping keep people’s sensitive data safe and secure. Whether it’s their health data, their financial status, or their personal photos and videos.

I’m also teaching companies and users how to conduct business safely online. I’m helping doctors and patients talk online without fear of their privacy being violated. I also work to protect them when someone with bad intentions tries to steal their information. And I can help them quickly get back on their feet if they are impacted. In that sense, I feel fulfilled. What I do is helping others and enhancing lives.

Outside of work I

I strongly believe in a good work-life balance. I enjoy traveling a lot. I am an avid runner. I also like reading & hanging out with my friends & family.

My advice to others

One’s attitude determines one’s altitude. Never think anything is impossible. If you have a dream, you can achieve it, provided you commit, and put in the effort required. Be inquisitive. Try to get one or more mentors to talk to and guide you. A career in a STEM field is absolutely exciting & rewarding. With the right preparation, guidance & effort, you can achieve it too.

When I was a student, I enjoyed:
  • Geography
  • History
  • Math
  • Science
  • Technology
  • Computer Science
When I was a student, I would have described myself as someone who:
  • Liked helping people
  • Enjoyed working with my hands
  • Was motivated by success
  • Wanted to be in charge
  • Liked being given free range to explore my ideas
  • Engaged in volunteer activities
  • Liked reading
  • Learned best "by doing"
  • Liked to take things apart to see how they worked
  • Liked to design or build things

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