Who Am I?

My name is Will Panameno, I am a Junior Network Engineer with a growing passion for Networking and Security. I work on the Managed Services side of an IT consulting company focused on Security, Networking, and Collaboration. My IT journey started in 2017 when I decided to take back control of my life and destiny. I worked in the Automotive industry for several years and eventually grew unhappy at work. I felt I had hit a hard stop in terms of growth in the field and didn’t really see opportunities emerging. I remember those long days, coming home, looking in the mirror, face dirty, hands beat up, sore, and overall just exhausted. I was really just going through the motions and didn’t feel any type of satisfaction or sense of achievement in life. I was making good money at the time, I was comfortable, but deep down inside I knew I had the potential to do bigger things. The only thing stopping me was the fear of taking that leap and drowning.

2017 was a huge year…. while still working on cars, I enrolled in a non profit IT program that was recommended by a friend, and is where I completed my A+, Network+, Security+, and CCNA studies. At this time I was working on cars from 8am-4:30pm, driving in grid-lock traffic on my way to school to be there from 6pm-9pm five days a week, then going home to eat, do homework, sleep and run it back the next day. While in school, I also picked up a part time gig doing desktop relocations, just for hands on experience and to supplement what I was learning at school. This job sometimes required me to be onsite at 5AM, but I could only work a few hours because I had to be in the shop by 8AM. I recall being in class and falling asleep sometimes from how tired I was, my professor tapping me on the shoulder and saying “I understand, don’t even worry about it”. I ended up taking that leap while in school that year, due to a full time IT job offer and it was one of the best decisions I made and I haven’t looked back. I’ve always been a big believer in that everything happens for a reason and when they are suppose to happen, but when I took the leap and was packing my wrenches, is when this really sunk in for me. The timing could not have been any better and the transition was scary, but definitely alot easier than I anticipated. So glad I took that chance and can look back, and thank myself instead of having stayed, being stuck in the same position and saying “What if?”. When you know, you know, and alot of times taking that leap could be the differentiator between simply existing and actually living life doing what you love.

The industry has been great to me so far, I’ve met so many talented people, attended Cyber security conferences, was named a “Success story” by the IT program I attended, had an article written about me in the City of San Pablo CA. for being of color in Tech, and been acknowledged by Symantec’s Cyber Security C3 program for my hard work and dedication in the field. I’ve worked my way up from desktop relocations, help desk, desktop support, and now learning to be a rockstar Engineer. This is only the beginning of the grind, but the support of my family was absolutely KEY to my success thus far in my career and for that I will forever be grateful. Looking forward to all the great years ahead and seeing where this crazy journey takes me.

With Kevin Mitnick at RSA conference 2018 in S.F. CA.