Recently I came across a couple of articles that both centered on the potential roles that young people entering into the IT Security field may face. Some of them, for example, may be lured away from legitimate IT security jobs and into the world of cybercrime. Others may follow the entrepreneurial role and fight cybercrime alongside myself and other professionals.
I suppose such dichotomies have existed in other professions for quite some time. Chemists could enter the commercial or academic world or become underground drug cartel members, ala Breaking Bad. Accountants could build CPA tax practices or help bad guys launder money. Doctors could work in emergency rooms or perform illegal operations to help war lords recover from battle. I suppose it is an age old balancing act.
I am reminded of Gladwell’s Outliers though, in that we are experiencing a certain time window when IT security skills are valuable to both good and bad efforts, and a war for talent may well be waging just beyond the common boundary of society. Gladwell’s position that someone like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates could only emerge within a specific time line of conditions seems to apply here. Have we seen our IT security Bill Gates yet? Maybe, maybe not….
It is certainly an interesting and pivotal time isn’t it? These articles further solidified my resolve to close a set of podcast interviews that I have been working on. In the next couple of months I will be posting podcast interviews with teams of IT and Infosec leaders to discuss their advice to young people just entering our profession. I hope you will join me for them. More importantly, I hope you will help me by sharing them with young people you know who are considering IT security as a career. Together, maybe we can help keep more of the talent on the non-criminal side. Maybe… I can always hope, can’t I? 🙂
Until next time, thanks for reading, and stay safe out there! If you have questions or insights about advice for young security professionals, hit me up on Twitter (@lbhuston). I’ll add them to the questions for the podcast guests or do some email interviews if there is enough interest from the community.