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A Young Professional’s Perspective
June 6, 2017

A Young Professional's Perspective
At this point, I’ve worked in IT for 2 years and cybersecurity for 9 months. I’m thankful for the opportunities given to me and have grown from them. There are endless possibilities on the route(s) I could’ve taken. As a disclaimer, this blog post is based on my experience alone. Not all jobs are the same and job functions differ due to the environment.

An IT’s Perspective
  • My main role was to find solutions for software, hardware, and networking problems.
  • This was an internal-facing role where I serve my coworkers.
  • I have an influence on what the company should purchase for IT equipment.

One of the cool things I did was keeping the ERP functional. I had to create saved queries for specific functions and departments. It’s useful because instead of having to manually dig through data, it’s nicely organized. I always got excited whenever I used formulas to calculate certain things. Having a background in SQL and programming helped tremendously.

A Cybersecurity’s Perspective

My job title is called risk consultant (for marketing purposes) even though my primary specialization is in cybersecurity.

  • My main role is to perform security assessments and penetration testing.
  • This is an external-facing role where I serve the company’s clients.
  • I have an influence on what the clients should do based on industry’s standards/best practices.

During security assessments, we would review the client’s policies, procedures, configurations, access controls, security, and anything else that goes on in the networking/computing environment. There would be a lot of walkthroughs with the process owners (eg. system admin/network engineer/etc.) and determine if they satisfy the given controls. An example of a control would be the password policy – does the client enforce an eight-character minimum length (per NIST), password complexity, and non-dictionary passwords?

As for penetration assessments, we would try to break into the client’s environment over the web or in person. We basically pretend to be hackers/bad guys who want to mess things up. For the web portion, we would look for any applications that are publicly accessible and try to break into it through vulnerabilities and poor configuration. The in-person portion would require us to actually go to the client’s facility and attempt to gain physical access. Pro Tip: Lock your workstations when it’s unattended and block any unused network ports.

1 + 1 = 2

I moved from a small manufacturing company to a large professional services firm. Here are two differences worth mentioning:

  • I am always working with different people and reporting to different managers these days (depending on the project).
  • My workspace is constantly changing as well. I’m either working at a client’s facility, company’s office, cafes, or at home.

I am always open to learning beyond my indented job description. I’ve assisted different departments in my previous job and now, I am learning about the different solutions that my company offers. The newest addition to the bucket is third party risk.

The two jobs originated from the same root: technology. I dive into the same topics but in a different perspective.

13 Responses

  1. GoalsbyIna ☆ June 6, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    It sounds like you have quite a variation in your job. That’s always nice 🙂

  2. Eena ☆ June 7, 2017 at 12:29 am

    Sounds like you’ve learned a lot in the short time you’ve worked in your field!

    Was it difficult for you finding your first job? My boyfriend got his degree in electrical engineering or I think it was computer software (??) and he’s been struggling to find a job 🙁

    • Nancy ☆ June 7, 2017 at 7:52 am

      I got my job through my school’s department chair recommending me to my current company. Having connections who would be willing to go out of their way is super helpful. I hear that recruiters can be super helpful with referrals too – best bet would be through LinkedIn :). Let me know if you have anymore Q’s!

  3. Pauline ☆ June 7, 2017 at 6:11 am

    I found this really interesting to read Nancy! Thanks for sharing your experience. It sounds like your experience in IT and cyber security has helped you make a huge impact in the tech industry! I’m so proud of you gahh!

    One of the coolest parts of your job (in my opinion) is that you get to work remotely sometimes. I have this option at work sometimes but most of the time I’m stuck in an office due to demands (there’s a front-facing customer service element to my job!) so I’m not able to work remotely all the time but when I do – cafes are my best friends!

    Seeing your progress over the past few years has been a pleasure 🙂 Looking forward to more posts about your career journey / professional development!

  4. Audrey | Brunch at Audrey's ☆ June 7, 2017 at 7:04 am

    It sounds like you’re really good at adapting, which is super valuable, especially in tech, an industry that is always growing and evolving! It’s pretty cool that you work in a variety of environments; you won’t get bored ^-^ -Audrey | Brunch at Audrey’s

  5. Kim ☆ June 7, 2017 at 11:42 am

    It’s interesting to read about your perspectives from these two roles! In my mind, they are similar because they both involve computers and technical words that I don’t know, haha, but obviously there are differences, like you mentioned with the internal vs external mindset. And I’m happy to hear that you are open to learning beyond your actual job tasks! That’s the only way to really evolve and grow past the other employees/competitors! 🙂

  6. Tara ☆ June 9, 2017 at 9:30 pm

    Has it been almost 9 months since you started your cybersecurity job? Time sure flies! Hard to believe it’s already a year since your college graduation 😀

    I am glad you wrote this post. Not only is it good to see things from your perspectives of the two fields, but it also helped me understand better how the IT and cybersecurity fields differ from an employees’ views. I actually would have lumped the two fields together, but you have clearly shown me that the two fields are very, very different.

    I smiled reading that you loved formulas and using them in your IT job. You’re very detail-oriented, so it makes sense for you to like that! That trait of yours also comes in handy with your cybersecurity job! You definitely need to be focused to perform risk assessments and penetration assignments. It’s also good you’re learning these skills because you can use the knowledge to apply them to your own life! Cybersecurity is indeed important.

    Lastly, it’s excellent that you want to learn beyond your job description. Having a ton of skills make you very marketable, and it’s good to be the jill-of-all-trades!

  7. Rezina ☆ June 10, 2017 at 12:39 pm

    It might be since it’s been a while since I’ve been visiting other blogs, but I really like the little logo/icon on your footer! It adds a nice touch. Also your job in cybersecurity sounds really cool. I knew that was a part of your job but hadn’t known what it entailed.

    It’s also really awesome that you’re working with technology and that you’re active or looking to be active to seeking out different perspectives.

  8. Kya ☆ June 12, 2017 at 4:39 pm

    This was a great post. It’s very interesting to see what is involved in the work that you have to do. It sounds like there would be times when it could get stressful. You know your stuff and the fact you are willing to learn more is only going to be a great asset to your future. 😀

  9. Linda ☆ June 12, 2017 at 11:37 pm

    Wow! Your job seems fun and is extremely filled with purpose. It feels good to have cyber security since now a days everything is online!

  10. Cassidy ☆ June 13, 2017 at 1:56 pm

    Your cyber security job sounds like something I’d LOVE to do. It’s so nice that your work environment is constantly changing because I think it helps a person stay on their toes and stay alert while completing the tasks at hand. I’ll definitely look at this when I start looking for jobs after I graduate.

    One of things I mentioned to my interviewer at my internship was that I was open to further research and learning outside the office. I know this is a requirement for those in the medical profession but I think this is a good quality for someone in any profession.

  11. Aki! ☆ June 17, 2017 at 5:22 pm

    I have been in the workforce for a couple of years, but always in the same role. I will be interested to see how my roles will change when I eventually do switch companies!

  12. Teesh ☆ June 23, 2017 at 7:58 pm

    I work in the IT industry too! There are such a diversity in all kinds of jobs we can get in this industry and I’m so interested to hear about yours. 🙂

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