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Cyber Security Career Advice

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Cyber Security Career Advice - Trident Talks | Carlie Mcnamee (SOC Manager)

On securing a Desktop job to instantly progressing into a SOC Analyst position

I kept my cards close because I thought if they knew I had ulterior motives, they probably wouldn't accept me for the job opportunity, but equally, I did want the job, and you know it wasn't like I want to go in security tomorrow.

I went into the role and worked with some great people, and if the security opportunity arose later down that road, I would be happy with that. However, it happened a lot quicker, so I was in the desktop role for only a year, then went straight into the security role, and it happened faster than I anticipated. However, I was still willing to let that naturally take its course and end up in that position, but when I made that known and was keen on a security role.

It was always a case people would question why I moved into the role so quickly. It would help if you considered the question:

"Have you made it known what you want to do and where you want to go?".

I met the right people because and was proactive about it and was going to security meetings and speaking to the people in that department. In contrast, my colleagues were not doing that, so I and I probably accelerated that process a little.

My advice to anyone looking to join cyber security; if you didn't get it the first time, but you got it the second time, is to remain persistent, and you've got to be super proactive about it.

 

On the difference between IT and OT

Your typical infrastructures within businesses will have your ordinary desktops and workstations, whereas OT is more of your regular business infrastructures that utilise operational technologies.

 I'll use my experience working in a mining company as an example, as the infrastructure is different regarding the terminology and assets. There was much automation and automated tooling when I worked in the mining company. When we discuss automation, we're talking about a mine site hundreds of miles away. My colleagues worked in the same office as me in Perth and notably used remote controls driving diggers, trains, and equipment of this nature.

 That is the difference in technology and protocols, sometimes, you will see it in OT, but it's different. It's more locked down, hectic, and noisy, with people working on things, and you see components flying across the network in OT.

 It tends to be more standard because it needs to be secure. After all, you're dealing with factory equipment within power stations. I could safely say that women and men will experience this at some point in their careers. When we're discussing cyber security, there are so many facets that people feel they need to be good at everything. Of course, you don't have to be, but through your days, you know you're going to be asked to perform challenging tasks that you're not particularly good at. I think they're the times when you would probably feel imposter syndrome the most because you're working on a project that's not your forte.

 It's not something that even you might be interested in, so at the end of the day, you feel like you didn't do a good job there, so it might leave you feeling like you're not good enough. I've experienced that throughout my career. I've walked into specific roles or dealt with people or projects where I wasn't the best in a particular area of my work, and that's not to say that I am not good at other things. You're just working on something that someone is better at than you on that day or week, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. So, therefore, it's imperative to identify your strengths and accept you can't be good at everything and build on your skills to have fewer of those days.

 

On dealing with imposter syndrome

I could safely say that women and men will experience this at some point in their careers. When we're discussing cyber security, there are so many facets that people feel they need to be good at everything. Of course, you don't have to be, but through your days, you know you're going to be asked to perform challenging tasks that you're not particularly good at.

 I think they're the times when you would probably feel imposter syndrome the most because you're working on a project that's not your forte.

 It's not something that even you might be interested in, so at the end of the day, you feel like you didn't do a good job there, so it might leave you feeling like you're not good enough. I've experienced that throughout my career. I've walked into specific roles or dealt with people or projects where I wasn't the best in a particular area of my work, and that's not to say that I am not good at other things.

 You're just working on something that someone is better at than you on that day or week, and I don't think there's anything wrong with that. So, therefore, it's imperative to identify your strengths and accept you can't be good at everything and build on your skills to have fewer of those days.

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