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Cándido López, MS Cybersecurity, OSCP, CRTO, PNPT, Sgt. CPD, Evolve Academy Instructor

The Struggle is Real: Embracing Challenges and Overcoming Obstacles in OSCP Preparation


I joined the U.S. Air Force in 1994, and soon after 9/11 joined the Chicago Police Department (CPD). In 2007, 3.5 years into my career, I became a Field Training Officer (FTO). In 2016, I became a part of CPD's Information Services Unit (ISU), where I helped to implement an abridged NIST password standard and tested OpenLDAP. That same year, I resumed my education at DePaul University in Chicago, completing a B.A. in Public Safety and Security Management in 2018 and attained the rank of Sergeant in CPD. I began an M.S. in Cybersecurity, focusing on network infrastructure and ethical hacking, graduating in 2021. Since then, I have also earned the OSCP certification in 2022 and CRTO and PNPT certifications in 2023. I worked at Evolve Security as an Instructor and Content Design Consultant. Most recently, I joined SynAck as a freelance researcher, conducting narrow-scope pen tests.


Embarking on the journey to earn a demanding cybersecurity certification like the OSCP often triggers a barrage of questions: "Can I do this? Can I pass? Is it worth the effort?" Adding work, family, or other obligations amplifies the challenge, leading to more questions about failure and time management. My talk is designed for those asking these questions, whether students aspiring to be cybersecurity researchers or seasoned professionals seeking growth. Drawing from my personal journey, including my experiences teaching at Evolve Academy in partnership with Offensive Security for the OSCP Bootcamp, I'll present real-life examples reflecting the multifaceted reality of someone striving to enter cybersecurity. I will share strategies to manage time, learn and maintain essential knowledge, and ultimately earn certifications like OSCP, CRTO, PNPT, as I did. Beyond theoretical advice, my talk provides a genuine reflection of the struggles, joy, and fulfillment in the pursuit of professional growth in cybersecurity. By the time the talk concludes, attendees will not only comprehend the strategies needed to succeed but will also appreciate the pleasure in mastering the balance between life's demands and the pursuit of their professional dreams.

Cándido López, MS Cybersecurity, OSCP, CRTO, PNPT, Sgt. CPD, Evolve Academy Instructor
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