From Whiz Kid to Wise Sage: 20 Years of Tech Truths I Wish I Knew Sooner
Hey everyone 👋,
So, I was in this mentoring session the other day, and the mentee asked me to summarize my decades-long experience in solution architecture and cybersecurity. A loaded question, right? I had to stop and think for a minute, not just because it’s a heavy ask, but also because it’s really hard to squeeze 20 years of passion, trials, triumphs, and, oh yeah, a heck load of coding, into a single conversation.
Well, consider this blog post my attempt to spill the tea ☕ on what I’ve learned. Let’s dive in.
1. Mentorship: The Two-Way Street
When I started in this industry, I was the young gun, the hotshot, the “whiz kid.” I thought I knew it all. Boy, was I wrong! Fast forward to today, and I still learn something new every time I mentor someone. Folks, mentorship isn’t just a one-way street; it’s a highway of shared knowledge. Your mentees will question and challenge you in ways that make you question what you thought you knew. Embrace it.
2. Cybersecurity is NOT an Afterthought
Oh man, if I had a nickel for every time someone said, “Let’s build it now and secure it later,” I’d be living on a private island. Spoiler alert: That approach doesn’t work. As a cybersecurity evangelist, let me preach for a second: Bake security into the DNA of every project. Seriously. An insecure product is a liability, not an asset.
3. Soft Skills are Your Secret Weapon
Tech skills? Crucial. Soft skills? Equally crucial. Learn how to communicate, not just with machines but with human beings. You’ll often need to translate complex tech jargon into simple terms that stakeholders can understand. Believe me; your career will thank you for it. Jot down your ideas/ thoughts in a blog or start that vlogging that you always wanted to do.
4. Fail Fast, Learn Faster
I’ve failed. A lot. And you know what? I wouldn’t trade those failures for anything because they’ve been my best teachers. Sure, succeeding is great, but failure teaches you what success never can. It humbles you, molds you, and, most importantly, shows you how to bounce back.
5. Keep Up or Get Left Behind
The tech industry is an ever-evolving beast. What was revolutionary five years ago is old news today. So keep learning, stay curious, and always be ready to adapt. If you’re not moving forward, you’re falling behind, simple as that.
6. Networking Isn’t Schmoozing
I used to think networking was just for those slick Wall Street types. Nah, it’s essential in our field too. Networking isn’t about impressing people; it’s about building genuine connections. You never know when a casual conversation might open doors you didn’t even know existed.
7. Don’t Forget to Unplug
Burnout is real. Even for someone who loves tech as much as I do, it’s vital to unplug and recharge. Spend time with family, travel, read—do whatever it takes to maintain a healthy work-life balance. Your well-being is the foundation upon which you build your success.
So there you have it, folks—my two cents on navigating this wild ride of a career. I hope you find it as fulfilling, challenging, and downright fun as I have. Got questions or want to share your journey? Drop a comment below or hit me up on Twitter. Let’s keep the conversation going!
Until next time, Your Friendly Neighborhood Mentor 🛠️🔒
P.S. Keep an eye out for my next post where I’ll be breaking down some of the most intriguing cybersecurity trends of 2024. You won’t want to miss it! 🚀