First up, apologies for it being a while but I started a new job three weeks ago at Sophos on the Incident Response team and it is and has been AMAZING, so happy in this job but that’s for another post.
The only social media I spend any real time on is twitter, but I am on Instagram too and in there I follow some really interesting people in and out of Cybersecurity.
One of these people is ‘Cyber Kitten’, I wish my Instagram looked as good as hers, I really must make more of an effort there.
Here she is wearing a top from my employers ? (Yes, I work at Sophos now think I mentioned ? will post about it next week hopefully).
Hope you enjoy the interview:-
You became a senior security analyst back in April, congratulations. How did you get there career path wise?
Thank you. My career has been quite odd to be honest. I got into IT after attending a trade school back in high school. I got my first network engineering job right out of high school. From there, I went on to learn as much as I could on my own time and gain experience. I even freelanced for about a year as a technical writer and cybersecurity consultant to eventually end up in my current role.
In one of your posts, you said:
“I’ve been thinking about my professional goals and aspirations a lot lately. Where do I really want to be in 5 or 10 years. I don’t have a good answer. Hoping that taking the next week off to go to the beach will provide me the refresh and rejuvenation I need.”
Did you find your answer?
Sort of. I realized that my goals are going to be changing. Right now, I want to learn enough to be an offensive security engineer doing penetration tests or red team engagements. But at the end of the day, I also realized that the most important thing to me is flexibility, making enough to live comfortably, and having a good work life balance. There is more to life than just work. I forget that sometimes.
I’m an admin on the Darknet Diaries discord and i see you’re a listener. Any other podcast recommendations?
I love Darknet Diaries! Honestly, that is my all-time favourite podcast and there aren’t many that I like as much as that one. Myself and a colleague of mine are thinking of making our own podcast so who knows – that could happen in the future.
What is your view on certificates, where do you stand on their merit?
I think that certifications can help you get your foot in the door at a lot of organizations. Whether or not they actually prove that you know how to do work is another story. Certs have definitely helped me in my career though and I will likely get more. Also, some certs hold more weight than others to people. Always best to do your research on a particular cert beforehand.
One of the issues I find in Cybersecurity is I want to learn it ALL, from the incident response to the pentesting and even the governance and framework stuff, have you had this and how do you manage to focus without thinking the grass is greener on the other side?
Yes, I definitely do this, and I tend to TRY to learn it all until I get burnt out. I find all of it interesting, so I just usually try to pick something and focus on it until I have a good understanding of it or I have a need to change course and learn something else.
I recently interviewed Alyssa Miller and Amanda Berlin of Mental Health Hackers trying to give more representation, how do you feel it is in cybersecurity and is there anything you would change?
I can definitely see that cybersecurity and IT in general is a very male-dominated field. I’ve had some bad experiences as a result of this. However, there are good companies out there and you just have to try and find them. My current company is a very diverse group of people from all different backgrounds, genders, and races. I’m happy that I get to be a part of a team like that.
I’m interested to see how people self-care and manage to give themselves time, I have tried headspace recently how do you manage?
I don’t! Lol, just kidding. Well, kind of kidding. I suffer from a pretty bad anxiety disorder, and it is a real struggle sometimes. When I get overwhelmed, I tend to shut down. Fortunately, my doctor has been great at working on my anxiety with me and giving me the resources I need to address them. Also, if my mental health is really bad one day (panic attack, severe anxiety, or depression) I will actually treat it just like I would if I was physically sick with the flu or a cold. I will either take a PTO day and rest or I’ll go easy on myself and make it a lighter day for work ( maybe do a training or something). My job is pretty flexible which certainly helps. Also, although my cat isn’t a certified emotional support animal, he definitely helps me when I’m feeling stressed. It’s nice working remotely because he can sit on my lap and help me feel better when things aren’t going well.
What’s the plans for the rest of year and into 2022?
I’m in the process of buying a new house, so I’m really just looking forward to that at the moment. Still going to stay with my current company and help improve as much and learn as much as I can. Hopefully in 2022 things will be more under control with the pandemic and in person conferences will be a thing again. I’d love to go Def Con or Black Hat again.
Everyone in cybersecurity spends spare time still in cybersecurity, be that at webinars or playing CTF. How do you fill up your non-working time?
I love conferences and CTFs. However, I’m not very good at CTFs yet 🙁 I need to do more HackTheBox or TryHackMe boxes first. I play a lot of video games when I’m not working like Apex Legends or Red Dead Redemption 2. I also like to get outside when I can and spend time with nature.
Lastly, I have a cat called Daisy, that’s her in picture below (will show pic of her :-)) how many cats do you have, who are they and how many have you had?
Aww Daisy! Well, I’m known as a crazy cat lady because I talk about cats constantly but I actually only have two right now – Neville Widebottom and Ginny. We adopt FIV+ cats because they tend to be less adoptable than other cats and we want them to have a good home. We adopted an elderly cat with FIV+ about 4 years ago named Toothless. He ended up passing earlier this year but I was glad that we got to spend the time with him that we did and give him a good elderly cat home.
Give her a follow and thanks for reading.
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