Terrence's journey into cybersecurity wasn't a deliberate choice; instead, it was a path he navigated as a Marine. He found his roots and thrived in the ever-evolving game of chess that is cybersecurity. The constant challenge to stay ahead, the perpetual growth, and the desire to continuously learn are the driving forces behind Terrence's commitment to this career.
Beyond the technical realm, Terrence's interests and hobbies are as diverse as the winds that blow. Engaging in community efforts, whether through international travel, exploring new restaurants, or discovering that hidden bourbon bar, he finds joy in connecting with people from all walks of life. Coming from a background that limited his exposure to the world, Terrence now embraces every opportunity to learn about it.
Becoming a SANS instructor was a choice inspired by the SANS community. Initially hesitant, Terrence found a mentor during his first SANS course whose guidance and the enriching experiences of SANS events solidified his decision. Being part of something larger than himself and contributing to a community driven by a passion for cybersecurity is what makes SANS his chosen platform.
Teaching Digital Forensics and Incident Response (DFIR) and cloud security is a joy for Terrence, primarily because these fields are often overlooked. Witnessing students realize the untapped potential right before them brings him immense satisfaction. Cybersecurity transformed Terrence's life, and he aspires to bring that transformation to others through teaching. His dedication is unwavering, and he pours his all into each class, viewing it as an opportunity to unlock new levels for every participant.
The most important lesson Terrence aims to impart to his students is that everything is possible with the right mindset. Beyond the intimidating wealth of information in the courses, he wants each student to leave with a growth mindset that propels them toward their career goals. Terrence's goal as a teacher is not just to cover course materials but to instill a mindset that fuels continuous learning beyond the classroom.
Outside the classroom, a significant life experience showcases Terrence's expertise. In a previous role, he mentored a junior security analyst aspiring to transition to security engineering. Through weekly sessions covering technical skills and relevant soft skills, the analyst successfully secured a role as a sought-after team member. This experience reflects Terrence's commitment to making a tangible difference in individuals' career trajectories.
The highlight of Terrence's career has been working at multiple big tech companies, contributing his expertise across many critical cybersecurity issues. Knowing that his work impacts billions of people and ensures the security of services without making headlines is immensely rewarding. Whether conducting malware investigations, threat hunting, or building unique tools, the variety of experiences has validated Terrence's career choice.
Recognizing the challenges his students might face, the biggest being the inability to cover everything comprehensively, Terrence encourages student involvement in shaping the course. Students are urged to challenge topics, present research, and collaborate to enhance the course content. He supplements the class with additional resources, such as relevant blog sites, to address the ever-growing changes in the cybersecurity landscape.
In Terrence's opinion, the most significant challenges his students might face include the desire for more comprehensive coverage within limited time frames. While it's a reasonable expectation, time constraints necessitate prioritization.
As an expert addressing these challenges during the class, Terrence actively involves students in the improvement process. Their input is crucial, and he welcomes collaboration beyond the classroom, leveraging external resources to keep the course content aligned with the dynamic cybersecurity landscape. The goal is to equip students with immediate knowledge and the skills to adapt and thrive in their day-to-day careers.
In essence, Terrence's role as an instructor extends beyond the classroom, aiming to shape mindsets, foster continuous learning, and empower students to navigate the vast and ever-changing field of cybersecurity.