Name: Ryan Zacha
Job title/role: Solutions architect
Work location: McLean, VA
Years/months at Booz Allen: 3 years
Every day security threats hit federal agencies, forcing them to react quicker than ever before. We asked Booz Allen’s Ryan Zacha, a solutions architect on the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) team, about how he’s helping to make a difference in the cybersecurity space and why Booz Allen is the place to do it. Interested in hearing Ryan’s perspective? Keep reading.
How did you get started in your field?
I began my IT career in the U.S. Air Force right after graduating from high school. I worked as a tech controller, where I managed and troubleshot long-distance communication links. After six great years serving in our nation’s Air Force, I transitioned to a defense organization where I supported various aircraft remote sensing projects. I then took a role at another aerospace and defense company where I maintained the communication systems and the ground based remote tactical sensor operator stations. These stints helped shape my career and eventually helped me land my dream job at Booz Allen.
Why did you choose Booz Allen?
I chose Booz Allen because I was offered an opportunity to work on the Continuous Diagnostics and Mitigation (CDM) team. After working in a system admin IT role for more than 10 years I wanted to break into the cybersecurity space, and this seemed like a good fit as they needed experienced engineers with a background like mine.
It didn’t take long for me to realize that I made the right choice. I quickly became familiar with the leadership team and clients, and felt good about the exciting work I was getting to do and how we could grow our line of business. This job provides continual learning opportunities.
What inspires you outside of work?
Outside of work I attend M.B.A. classes and security conferences. Conferences like ShmooCon, Bsides, and DefCon inspire me to learn and grow within the cyber arena. After every conference I come home with a laundry list of items that I need to research.
What is your most memorable moment at Booz Allen?
Participating in the Attack Surface Analysis oral presentation was definitely a highlight of my career so far at Booz Allen as it was the first oral presentation I had taken part in. These oral presentations are the ground level of showcasing our abilities to our client base. The recent win of CDM DEFEND is also very memorable as it gives our engineers and thought leaders an avenue to meaningfully improve our federal agency networks and ensure their security into the future.
How has Booz Allen empowered you and your career?
Booz Allen makes it possible to grow my cybersecurity expertise and career. I came to Booz Allen as a network engineer and moved up within the company. My leadership is also very supportive. They constantly provide career guidance, are a sounding board for my career goals, and always have an open door.