Sabre Systems, Inc. is a quality-driven, customer-focused company providing innovative technology solutions in the areas of Cyber, Software and Systems Engineering, Digital Transformation, Advanced Communication Technologies, and Enterprise Data Management. Their diverse team of professionals provide comprehensive, cost-effective, and fully integrated solutions to address their customers’ most complex mission challenges.
Sabre’s mission is to ensure national defense, federal civilian, and private sector customers have the technology, services, and expertise to overcome threats, maintain superiority, and quickly adapt to emerging obstacles. They consistently define themselves as a trusted partner to their customers, teammates, and workforce because of their steadfast commitment to quality, loyalty, and excellence.
Campus Philly had the opportunity to connect with Varun Belani, Jr. Cyber Security Specialist at Sabre Systems, Inc., to learn more about his role at the organization and hear his advice for college students and recent graduates looking to land a job in the IT & Services field, too! Read on for our full conversation, and learn more about a career at Sabre Systems here.
Hi, Varun! It’s great to connect with you today. We can’t wait to hear more about your career journey and advice for college students in the Philly region. But first: Tell us about yourself.
I started my college career at Montgomery County Community College, where I received my Associate’s Degree in Computer Science. In 2020, I graduated from Chestnut Hill College with my Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity. It was at Chestnut Hill that I discovered my passion for cybersecurity with the help of two inspiring and gifted teachers, Pam King and Ken Pyle.
I am a native of the United Arab Emirates, followed by a few years living in India, but have been living in the Montgomery County area since age 10.
My proudest accomplishment is my marriage to my beautiful and intelligent wife, Jess, in 2021. Since getting married, I have been attending Core Creek Community Church in Langhorne and serve as a leader in their youth ministry.
Tell us a little more about your role about Sabre Systems, Inc. How did you find your job? What was the process like?
While I was attending Chestnut Hill, my professor suggested I attend a Campus Philly career event to explore future career options. Despite my experience subcontracting at a cybersecurity firm, I was nervous my experience would seem inadequate to prospective employers, but I decided to take the initiative and put myself out there.
I was drawn to the booth for Sabre Systems, Inc., at the Campus Philly career fair, where I met their VP of HR, Deb Kliman, who was extremely friendly and put me at ease. Deb and I stayed in touch over the following years until I applied to work for the company in 2021. My professional experience, educational background, and my certification in CompTIA Security+ aided me in obtaining my current position at Sabre Systems.
That’s great, Varun! What an excellent overview. Can you dive into what your day-to-day life on the job looks like, too?
Yes! One of my favorite parts of my job is that every day looks different. In my role as a Jr. Cyber Security Specialist at Sabre Systems, I work with commercial clients providing cybersecurity advisory. This includes monitoring client networks and endpoints for any potential indicators of compromise, compiling training campaigns for user awareness, providing vulnerability management, and maintaining asset inventories.
As I am monitoring client networks, I work on any security alerts or possible incidents that arise and address any potential security threats. Throughout the month, I compile campaigns that are utilized by clients in a training capacity. When needed, I maintain asset inventories for companies, as well as providing vulnerability management for clients. Recently, I also have been working alongside the development team and on incident response projects, which has allowed me to learn many new skills!
What are some key takeaways you’ve learned during your time at Sabre Systems, Inc?
Never stop learning. Complacency in one’s field can lead to becoming stagnant and out of touch, as things are constantly changing. I always try to maintain an interest in new developments in technology and cybersecurity, and maintain a willingness to grow and learn new skills.
Be willing to receive feedback. We all have areas of strength and weakness, and we should always seek to grow both personally and professionally. Learning to accept and apply feedback is key to being a valuable employee.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. No one expects you to know everything, and maintaining a humble attitude ensures that you can glean knowledge from those more experienced, therefore building your own knowledge base.
Balance professionalism with authenticity. Being personable with clients helps to develop stronger working relationships and enhances the company’s reputation.
We couldn’t agree more—what great advice for students! Thank you, Varun. Let’s shift to talking a bit more about your education. How did your courses help to prepare you for this position?
My favorite courses in college that sparked my love for cybersecurity were Digital Forensics and Security & Defense. These courses focused on web application penetration testing, OSINT collection, password cracking, development of exploitation tools, and digital forensics for file systems, partitions, and the Windows registry. The more I learned in the classroom about cybersecurity and digital forensics, the more motivated I was to further develop my skills.
I became most prepared for my current position through personal studies and projects related to cybersecurity. I have focused extensively on developing my personal pentesting methodology by studying the materials provided by the OSCP PWK-200 course, practicing my skills on HackTheBox, and reading articles and books on other’s methodologies. Acquiring my CompTIA Security+ certification also helped me to build a baseline of fundamental cybersecurity knowledge.
And how about your network? How are you building yours in the Philly region?
To expand your social network, it is best to pursue new opportunities in person when possible. In a day and age where everything is done online and virtually, it can set you apart to have face-to-face interaction with a potential contact. When in-person contact isn’t available, phone calls are preferable to written communication, as you are more likely to make a connection when you express yourself verbally!
My best advice is don’t be afraid to share your passion. If you are seeking employment or networking in a field you truly care about, that already sets you apart from those who are merely working for a paycheck.
What’s some advice you’d give a student seeking a job at your organization this summer?
Internships and subcontracting positions are great ways to get started with an organization; you can gain invaluable experience while simultaneously building a relationship with the organization you hope to work with in the future.
Sabre Systems has been an amazing place to work, and I would highly recommend this organization to anyone desiring to work in technology. Sabre caters to matters of national defense, federal civilian agencies, and the commercial business sector, so they have plenty of opportunities for those seeking employment. I have appreciated the opportunities Sabre Systems provides for professional development, as they are always offering ways to learn new skills! Learn more about open roles at Sabre Systems, Inc., here.
Anything else you’d like to share, Varun, or any last advice for college students and recent grads?
I want to encourage those who are currently searching for a career in their field to never give up. Although it can be frustrating to send out dozens of resumes and attend first interviews that don’t turn into second interviews, there is always hope that the next company you apply to may be the perfect fit for you.
Two years passed between the time I first learned of Sabre Systems and the time I actually landed a job at this company, but my persistence and the relationships I had developed were what ultimately led to my employment here. I am so thankful I pushed myself to attend Campus Philly’s career event and that I met wonderful people at Sabre Systems, Inc., who helped me get to where I am today. I am excited to see where my career with Sabre advances in the future and am grateful I never gave up in my pursuit of a great career!