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Career Notes

Author: CyberWire Inc.

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Step inside the diverse and fascinating worlds of cybersecurity professionals around the globe and hear their personal stories in their own words.

26 Episodes
Founder and CEO of Immersive Labs James Hadley takes us through his career path from university to cybersecurity startup. James tells us about his first computer and how he liked to push it to its limits and then some. He joined GCHQ after college and consulted across government departments. Teaching in GCHQ's cyber summer school was where James felt a shift in his career. As a company founder, he shares that he is very driven, very fast and also very caring. James offers advice to those looking to get into the industry recommending they chase what interests them rather than certifications. We thank James for sharing his story with us.
Americas Security R&D Lead for Accenture Malek Ben Salem shares how she pivoted from her love of math and background in electrical engineering to a career in cybersecurity R&D. Malek talks about her interest in astrophysics as a young girl, and how her affinity for math and taking on challenges lead her to a degree in electrical engineering. She grew her career using math for data mining and forecasting eventually pursuing a masters and PhD in computer science where she shifted her focus to cybersecurity. Malek now develops and applies new AI techniques to solve security problems at Accenture. We thank Malek for sharing her story with us.
CEO and consultant Richard Clarke took his inspiration from President John F Kennedy and turned it into the first cybersecurity position in federal government. Determined to help change the mindset of war, Richard went to work for the Department of Defense at the Pentagon following college during the Vietnam War. From Assistant Secretary of the State Department, he moved to the White House to work for President George W. Bush's administration where he kept an eye on Al-Qaeda and was tasked to take on cybersecurity. Lacking any books or courses to give him a basic understanding of cybersecurity, Richard made it his mission to raise the level of cybersecurity knowledge. Currently as Chairman and CEO at Good Harbor Security Risk Management, Richard advises CISOs. We thank Richard for sharing his story with us.
Communications consultant and podcaster Carole Theriault always loved radio and through her career dabbled in many areas .She landed in a communications and podcasting role where she helps technical firms create audio and digital content. In fact, Carole is the CyberWire's UK Correspondent. She says cybersecurity is good place to go because of the many different avenues available and "you don't even have to be a tech head" (though Carole has quite a technical pedigree). Our thanks to Carole for sharing her story with us.
The Malware Mash!

The Malware Mash!


Associate Professor of Computer Information Systems at the University of Tulsa Sal Aurigemma shares how his interest in how things worked shaped his career path in nuclear power and computers, Being introduced to computers in high school and learning about the Chernobyl event led Sal to study nuclear engineering followed by time in the Navy as a submarine officer. On the submarine, Sal had to understand how systems worked from soup to nuts and that let him back to IT. As a computer engineer, Sal spent a lot of time on network troubleshooting and was eventually introduced to cybersecurity. Following 9/11, cybersecurity took on greater importance. Sal's research focuses on behavioral cybersecurity. To newcomers, he suggests heading into things with an open mind and doesn't recommend giving users 24-character passwords that have two upper, two lower, and two special characters that cannot be written down. We thank Sal for sharing his story with us.
Senior VP of Cyber Operations at KnowBe4, Rosa Smothers, talks about her career as an early cybersecurity professional in what she describes as the Wild, Wild West to her path through government intelligence work. Rosa shares how she always knew she wanted to be involved with computers and how being a big Star Trek nerd and fan particularly of Spock and Uhura helped shape her direction. Following 9/11, Rosa wanted to work for the government and pursue the bad guys and she did just that completing her bachelor's degree and starting in the Defense Intelligence Agency as a cyber threat analyst focusing on extremist groups. She joined the CIA and worked on things you see in the movies, things that are science fictionesque. Rosa recommends talking with people to get your feet wet to find your passion. We thank Rosa for sharing her story with us.
Investigative journalist and author Geoff White talks about tracing a line through the dots of his career covering technology. Geoff shares that he has always been "quite geeky," but came to covering technology after several roles in the journalism industry. Newspapers, magazines and television were all media Geoff worked in before covering technology. Geoff got into journalism not due to the glamour sometimes associated with it, but because he wanted to fight for the public to cover stories that helped those who didn't have massive amounts of money, power or a huge lobbying campaign in political circles. When writing his book, Crime Dot Com, Geoff reflected on the cybercrime and cybersecurity stories he's covered and saw how things started falling into place. Our thanks to Geoff for sharing his story with us.
Commandant for the National Security Agency's National Cryptologic School Diane M. Janosek shares the story of her career going global Diane explains how she's always been drawn to doing things that could help and raise the nation. From a position as a law clerk during law school, to the role of a judicial clerk, and joining the White House Counsel's office, Diane was exposed to many things and felt she experienced the full circle. Moving on to the Pentagon and finally, the NSA, Diane transitioned into her current role where she orchestrates the educational environment for military and civilian cyber and cryptologists worldwide for the nation. Diane encourages those who love to learn to join the multidisciplinary cybersecurity field. Our thanks to Diane for sharing her story with us.
Director of security operations at Syntax Richard Torres talks about his path leading him working in juvenile justice to becoming a private investigator to physical security at a nuclear power plant to cybersecurity presently. Always a fan of police shows, Richard became a member of the Air Force Junior ROTC in high school and began his path there. Richard shares the challenges of working in several facets of the security industry including his transition from SWAT team member to cybersecurity. He notes the role that diplomacy plays when you're trying to get honesty and be steered in the right direction. Our thanks to Richard for sharing his story with us.
Cyber Initiative and Special Projects Fellow at the Hewlett Foundation Monica Ruiz shares her career development from aspirations of being a weather woman to her current role as a grantmaker and connector in cybersecurity. Monica discusses how her international study experience changed her outlook and brought her to the field of security. She shares the difficulties she faced as a woman of color when when not that many people look like you, and how she used that as her reason to move forward and better the cybersecurity field through her work. Our thanks to Monica for sharing her story with us.
Cybersecurity Sales Engineer Brandon Robinson shares how he built his career in technology and the barriers he experienced along the way. He talks about how his job involves him interacting with customers at the highest levels making sure their solution is meeting needs. In addition, Brandon describes how as a black man and a trailblazer, he's been met with resistance. His positive spin on moving ahead involves relying on himself. Brandon's advice: find your passion, don't be intimidated and you will be met with success. Our thanks to Brandon for sharing his story with us.
Technology attorney and startup chief of staff Elizabeth Wharton shares her experiences and how she came to work with companies in technology. Elizabeth talks about how she always liked solving problems and Nancy Drew mysteries, but not litigation. These morphed finding into her home in the policy legal world and some time later, technology law. Elizabeth describes how she loves planning and strategy in her work and encourages others to ask questions and absorb all of the information. Our thanks to Elizabeth for sharing her story with us.
Host of Darknet Diaries podcast Jack Rhysider shares his experiences from studying computer engineering at university to his strategy of using gamification on his career that led to him landing in the security space. Jack talks about how his wide experiences came together in security and what prompted him to learn podcasting. Jack endeavors to share the whole story through his podcasts while making them entertaining, enlightening and inspirational. Our thanks to Jack for sharing his story with us.
Managing director of the Cyber Readiness Institute Kiersten Todt shares how she came to be in the cybersecurity industry helping to provide free tools and resources for small businesses through a nonprofit. She describes how her work on the Hill prior to and just after 9/11 changed. Kiersten talks about the diversity of skills that benefit work in cybersecurity and offers her advice on going after what you want to do. Our thanks to Kiersten for sharing her story with us.
Founder and CEO Stu Sjouwerman takes us on a journey of how his career developed from starting a software service company to currently focusing on the infosec side of the business where his team essentially helps to create human firewalls. Stu talks about learning all aspects of the business while creating startups and suggests you learn to speak the language of the area you are looking to get into. He even touches on predicting the future and taking over the world. Our thanks to Stu for sharing his story with us.
Cyber threat intelligence analyst Selena Larson takes us on her career journey from being a journalist to making the switch to industrial security. As a child who wrote a book about a green goldfish who dealt with bullying, Selena always liked investigating and researching things. Specializing in cybersecurity journalism led to the realization of how closely aligned or similar skills are required from an investigative journalist and a cyber threat intelligence analyst. Our thanks to Selena for sharing her story with us.
Director of Security Engineering at Marqeta and Host of Hacker Valley Studio podcast Chris Cochran describes his transitions throughout the cybersecurity industry, from an intelligence job with the Marine Corps, to starting the intelligence apparatus for the House of Representatives, then on to leading Netflix's threat intelligence capability. Chris points out that when pivoting to different roles and responsibilities, you must rely on your own strengths to move forward and bring value to your work Our thanks to Chris for sharing his story with us.
Privacy and data security lawyer, Dominique Shelton Leipzig shares that she has always wanted to be a lawyer, ever since she was a little girl. She talks about what her role is with clients in protecting and managing their data, sometimes adhering to up to 134 different data protection laws for global companies. Learn that not a lot has changed for an African-American woman partner at an Amlaw 100 firm as far as diversity during Dominique's career, and how Dominique suggests young lawyers should address those odds. Our thanks to Dominque for sharing her story with us.
Computer security writer, podcaster and public speaker Graham Cluley describes learning to program on his own from magazines, creating text adventure games for donations, and his journey from programming to presenting and writing with a bit of tap dancing on the side. Along the way, Graham collaborated with others and learned to communicate so that all could understand, not just techies. Our thanks to Graham for sharing his story with us.
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