My Story So Far and Your Own Career Journey

Wherever you are in your professional journey, it helps to peek into another's career story to learn from their approach, mistakes, and triumphs. In the following three videos, I reflect on my career so far to share my story, hoping that others in the industry will find it useful. Perhaps you'll glean from these short episodes the insights that will help you chart your own path in cybersecurity.

Episode 1: Foundation

In the first episode, I discuss the challenges and opportunities of starting as an outsider--an immigrant from the former Soviet Union. I pursued a degree in computer science and was inspired to enter the cybersecurity field after deploying my first firewall. Watch the video to learn how understanding and embracing your background can provide a solid foundation for your professional journey. Lean into your own strengths and don't worry as much about your weaknesses.

Some takeaways. They sound generic but make more sense in the context of the video:

  • Identifying your strengths early offers a starting point for a career.
  • A strong educational foundation offers flexibility for future career paths.
  • Cybersecurity is an interdisciplinary field requiring diverse knowledge.
  • To succeed, be curious about topics even outside of your direct interests.

Episode 2: Adaptation

In the second episode, I share the unusual path I followed to my current role as a CISO, having undertaken a variety of positions in cybersecurity. System administration, network security, penetration testing, professional services, product management... It's been quite a journey! Watch the video to understand the significance of flexibility in your professional path, the need to be open to opportunities, and the requirement to continue learning. I also discuss an approach to staying sane and energized in intense work environments and share a recipe for an unconventional ceviche.

Some takeaways. They sound generic but make more sense in the context of the video:

  • Flexibility and openness to new opportunities are crucial in cybersecurity careers.
  • Balancing work stress with personal hobbies is essential for mental well-being.
  • Diverse career experiences can provide valuable skills for cybersecurity roles.
  • Unconventional career paths can lead to rewarding professional destinations.

Episode 3: Growth

In the final episode, I explain how I started teaching at SANS Insitute and created REMnux as side projects to my primary professional pursuits. Watch the video to understand how to find yourself at the epicenter of the industry and maintain engagement over time. Interacting with others in the industry outside your professional bubble is one way to continue learning and finding growth opportunities. And sharing your knowledge with others offers a way to create meaningful human connections while giving you the mind space to move on to other topics worth conquering.

Some takeaways. They sound generic but make more sense in the context of the video:

  • Continuous learning is crucial for staying engaged in cybersecurity.
  • Sharing knowledge and tools helps you and others in the industry.
  • Anticipating future needs helps you maintain professional relevance.
  • Engaging with diverse professionals provides fresh perspectives.

About the Author

I transform ideas into successful outcomes, building on my 25 years of experience in cybersecurity. As the CISO at Axonius, I lead the security program to earn customers' trust. I'm also a Faculty Fellow at SANS Institute, where I author and deliver training for incident responders. The diversity of cybersecurity roles I've held over the years and the accumulated expertise, allow me to create practical solutions that drive business growth.

Learn more