While I’ve been here I’ve been able to find an amazing mentor who has taught me more than I could ever dream of learning in such a short period of time and who has also brought me into the world of entrepreneurship and building tools on a large scale to market and sell.
I have been accepted and mentored by everyone on the team who has taught me and helped me every step of the way. I learned how crazy enterprise IT is and how fucking difficult it is to protect it. I have gotten so into IT security it’s consumed me, and I love it. I’ve come to know and love the little rush you get when you pop a shell on a box that you don’t even know where it is in your environment or the excitement you get when your custom word list cracks a user’s password in a fraction of a second. How amazing it feels to build things, tear them down, build it again and repeat. I have come to love all of IT and I can’t get enough.
I was one of the lucky ones who was able to find a path to a company that was looking to build someone from scratch. If I hadn’t found the people in my industry who wanted everyone to succeed I would not be where I am and those people are everywhere in our industry. That’s another amazing thing about it is everyone is willing to teach and learn and help and support. It’s rather tight knit for how big it is because everyone knows they have a duty to help and support each other. Without cooperation we wouldn’t be nearly as good at our jobs which means lots of bad people screwing lots of good people.
At the end of the day it comes down to passion. Having a passion for what you what to do will get you further than anything. If you are willing to put the hours to really learn and perfect your craft, whatever it is, than people will notice and in this industry there are always opportunities for those who show they can perform.
So to those of you who are coming up in Info Sec, maybe not knowing where to go, look for a mentor, a teacher, a boss, a friend in the industry, and try to learn as much as you can from them. Ask them how they got started, what they like about the industry, what they think would help you in the industry. Even before you find a mentor, just start going off and learning. No matter what you want to do in security there are tons of online resources. Blogs, articles, tools, and more at your fingertips to learn and hone your skills. I would say I learned probably 70% of what I know about information security and IT in general on my own. Especially the most practical things. Getting your hands dirty and just doing it is the best way to learn.
Learn all of IT. In order to best protect something you need to know how it works. So spin up VMs. Set up servers of all sorts, DNS, syslog, DHCP. Run your network through an open source router OS such a Pfsense. Just doing things like this and learning from your failures will teach you SO much. Learn to code, whatever language really, just to understand how everything works and talks to each other. There are learning opportunities everywhere you just have to stay open and keep looking!