As a Veteran, I got into cyber – while I was working as a contractor and I read a report about how a foreign government used a cyber-attack to start a military ground campaign against another country. I realized at that moment this is the real world and not a kid in someone’s basement. I then actively sought out using my existing skills to support cyber work. Once I saw “behind the curtain” at all that was taking place, there was no going back!

Something few people know about me is – I am a certified blacksmith. I picked up the hobby casually a few years ago and then in 2021-2022 went through a year-long training program to improve and learn. It is great in that it forces you to be present, forces you to rely on taking risks and being resilient, and hitting things with a hammer is pretty great some days. 🙂

A positive cyber mindset is – being willing to adapt and evolve beyond just technical proficiency. Those who do well in cyber are not the most technically proficient. Those who have technical competencies combined with the ability to translate cyber to the non-initiated and explain things through their eyes back to them. Look for ways to be a cyber translator…you will have the broadest reaching impact on all of those people around you.

I would tell my younger self – that the transition will take some time and that your ability to be resilient and consistent will get you there. Continue to be curious and engage others because their insight and counsel will help you more than you know down the road. Combine this with those areas you find personally interesting and you will focus on the targeted effort that will get you where you would like to be down the road.

Is it worth it? – No question it is! The personal and professional opportunities afforded to you in this space are hard to find in other spaces. The need will always be there as our digital exhaust increases over time. Opportunities abound for people who show initiative and leadership. Cyber needs you and the unique perspective you bring to the table…we all have different observation points and yours is critical to solving problems that will impact all of us in some way. Your unique life experiences and POVs when combined with cyber knowledge create unique solutions never before seen.