What do you do when you flunk in class? You feel hopeless. Fear, shame and embarrassment often push you to think that your career or future has come to an end. But a dropout can turn around his destiny. Twenty-five-year-old Trishneet Arora is one such successful story.
A school dropout from Chandigarh, Arora who is the founder and CEO of TAC Security — an IT security company — has made it to Forbes ‘30 Under 30 Asia’ 2018 list. The list features 300 entries — 30 in 10 categories have been picked from more than 2,000 nominations with the help of an A-list judging panel who are highly respected in their fields. Actress Katherine Langford, singer Shila Amzah, actress Emily Browning, football player Brandon Ellis, badminton player PV Sindhu, among others, are part of the 2018 list.
Arora has also written books on cyber security, ethical hacking and web defence including The Hacking Era, and is among the youngest ethical hackers in the country. His company provides protection to corporations against network vulnerabilities and data theft. Some of his clients are Reliance Industries, Central Bureau of Investigation, Punjab Police and Gujarat Police. He helps the Punjab and Gujarat police in investigating cyber crimes, for which he has conducted training sessions with officials.
Arora was also a part of 35 under 35 Entrepreneur (magazine) 2018 list along with Rohan Murty, Hardik Patel, Sunil Chhetri, Manushi Chhillar, Diljit Dosanj, among others.
Always passionate about computers, Arora was never interested in academics. He flunked in 8th standard, but he had bigger dreams. After observing a technician repair his dad’s crashed computer, Arora tried to learn more about the components.
“As a child, I would enjoy opening up toys and gadgets to see how they work internally as opposed to playing with them. When we got a computer home — I became obsessed. My passion grew from playing computer games like Vice City to understanding the hardware. My father became worried when he saw me on the computer for hours on end— he tried putting a password but by the end of the day I had figured out a way to crack it. Eventually he got impressed and bought me a new system! Whenever our computer needed fixing, I would watch the expert closely and within a few weeks I had networked two computers myself. If my neighbours needed to fix their machines, they would come to me. I was very young then.” Self-study, experimenting with his father’s computer and watching videos on YouTube helped him gain vast knowledge about computers and the cyber world.
Consumed by the world of computers, he admits that History and Geography never fascinated him. “But when I failed in class instead of yelling at me, my parents took me to the park after being called to the principal’s office. I just told them that understanding computers — the software and hardware — was all that I wanted to do and nothing else mattered to me. Eventually they allowed me to drop out of school but I did not stop learning. In fact, my learning grew three fold. I started with small projects — fixing computers and cleaning up software and at the age of 19, I received my first big cheque of Rs 60,000. I used everything I had saved to invest in my own company — TAC Security Solutions,” he explains.
Arora says that the best way to describe his professional title would be to call him an ‘ethical hacker’. “I would hack people’s systems, so that they could see the flaws in them. I am currently the IT advisor to the Punjab State and have held training sessions for the CBI, Punjab State and Crime Branch,” he says.
Ask him if he has any sense of remorse for not having acquired any formal degree or academic qualifications and he says, “I think I am here today because when I failed, my parents didn’t scream or force me to take more tuitions — they understood and allowed me to follow my passion. I am not saying education isn’t important — all that I am saying is how you choose to learn can vary and that failing in school, doesn’t mean you’re a failure in life.”