Progressing my InfoSec Career (Life Update)

I should start this post off by apologizing for the lack of content on this blog over the last couple of weeks, and also take this chance to apologize in advance that posts may still be irregular for the next couple of months or so.

The reason for this is that my life outside of this blog has gotten busy recently, in particular the circumstances around my work. I wanted to write a quick update to briefly explain what happened, and outline some personal lessons I learned throughout the whole experience.

Applying for a New Job

I currently work as a Junior IT Security Analyst in Wellington, New Zealand. In this role, I have learned a lot about IT Security and have been fortunate to be in an environment where I could develop my skills and increase my knowledge. However, personal reasons meant that I was increasingly looking to move away from Wellington and back to Auckland, where I could be closer to friends and family. For this reason, I decided to test myself on the job market and see what opportunities were out there that could be a suitable next step in my career.

In the end, I had a decision to make between two similar roles. After a lot of thought, I decided to take up the role that had more emphasis on the technical aspect of IT Security. I didn’t want to ‘lose’ this technical aspect by pigeon-holing myself into a non-technical, policy orientated career path, which may have happened in the other role. The other main factor was location, as the commute to the job I chose is far more convenient.

Lessons Learned

I am admittedly very inexperienced when it comes to developing my own career. Aspects of career development such as interviewing, negotiating and resigning are all fairly new to me and it was all good experience to get moving forward. Reflecting back on this process, here are my 3 key takeaways that I would recommend anyone in a similar position with their InfoSec career consider.

Be Honest

The old adage “honesty is the best policy” applies even in the workplace. Although there will be some people who disagree with this, I personally feel that being transparent and open with all parties involved is the best way to conduct yourself in the job application process. I was upfront with my manager from the moment I was offered job interviews, and he appreciated my honesty. In turn, he provided some invaluable advice as well as a glowing reference to support my applications.
Another example of where being honest had its benefits was in the decision process. I was completely transparent with both potential employers that I was considering two offers, and both companies appreciated this. I was even allowed to have an extension on one of my offers to further consider the two opportunities after discussing my situation with them.
Ultimately, it was clear that all parties appreciated the honesty and were happy to be reciprocate this. I know that there is potential for this to backfire at some point and I may have been naive, but being honest also made me feel a lot more content with the whole process than if I had tried to hold all my cards close to my chest.

Test the Job Market More Often

It’s no secret that the IT Security industry is booming right now, and the demand for skilled practitioners is higher than ever. However, despite the amount of times I have heard that in my career I never fully grasped the extent of this shortage. When I initially started to apply for various roles, I never expected to find something so quickly. The fact that I ended up with 2 job offers within 2 weeks is proof of just how in demand people are currently. Even more interestingly, both job offers were prepared to pay me a considerably higher salary than what I am currently on.
What I learned from this is that testing the job market is something that should be done more regularly than people might think. Try to keep your CV and LinkedIn profiles as up to date as possible, and keep your finger on the pulse of the job market. One good way to do this is by configuring email alerts from whatever job advertisement service you use. Weekly, or even daily email alerts allow you to quickly browse through various roles as they become available,and is a great way to keep current with what is out there.

Believe in Yourself

Finally, have some confidence and back yourself! Simply knowing what roles are available will never get you anywhere unless you actually apply for them. Don’t be afraid of putting your hand up and applying, because the worst thing that can happen is life goes on as per usual. It’s easy to apply for jobs once you have an up to date CV – it can literally be done with just a few clicks! The only thing stopping you from applying for a job is yourself. Whether it be thinking you aren’t good enough to apply for a particular role or being nervous at the interview, it’s important to always carry yourself with self confidence. Never let your own self doubts hold you back from an opportunity, because you have no idea what could be out there waiting for you.
If there is anyone reading this who feels like they have gotten too comfortable in their current job or have considered a new challenge, I urge you to go ahead and apply somewhere – what’s the worst that could happen?

Like I previously mentioned, with all this change happening in my life right now I need to take a quick step back from this blog. Once I am settled into my new role and lifestyle in Auckland, I will resume my weekly posting schedule as per usual.

Hope this post was useful, see you in a bit.

Kento.

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