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How to Survive Your First Few Years in Infosec: Career Advice for Junior Cybersecurity Practitioners (and the Managers Who Lead Them)

  • Thursday, December 10, 2020 | 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm ESTThursday, December 10, 2020 at 3:00 PM EST (2020-12-10 20:00:00 UTC)
  • Lesley Carhart, Andy Ellis, David J. Bianco, Katie Nickels, Sara Pickering

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Moderator: Lesley Carhart

Panelist(s): Andy Ellis, David J. Bianco, Katie Nickels, Sara Pickering

Many of us look up to Lesley Carhart @hacksforpancakes as a brilliant cybersecurity practitioner but she's also a coach and mentor whom people often turn to for advice.

Recently, she was approached by someone relatively new to infosec who is having recurring, serious panic attacks in his new role when he makes small and very normal errors in his security role. After exploring where this came from in his previous job, we uncovered a really abysmal and abusive management situation which, if he'd had any guidance, he should have reported to HR. In his current role, he had no idea that he should be asking for performance reviews on paper and sincere career goal guidance. He doesn't have an idea if he is doing well or not, and what his managers' expectations are.

Lesley got to wondering, how many new people in cybersecurity are being gaslit and taken advantage of like he was? We can be particularly vulnerable because we're very focused on technical skills and not people or business.

This session will focus on how to succeed in business as a technical person. It will also be a gut check for managers.

Topics will include:

  • What is your responsibility as an individual contributor, and what is your manager's?
  • Red flags in corporate life
  • Building and tracking a career and self-improvement plan
  • When situations can be remediated, and when it's time to go
  • What business skills are helpful in dealing with bureaucracy, and some ways to acquire them

White Space

Speaker Bios

Lesley Carhart

Lesley Carhart is a Principal Threat Analyst, Threat Operations Center at the industrial cyber security company Dragos, Inc. She is recognized as a subject matter expert in cybersecurity incident response and digital forensics, regularly speaking on the topic at conferences and universities. She has spent the last 11 years of her 20+ year IT career specializing in information security, with a heavy focus on response to nation-state adversary attacks. Prior to Dragos, she was the incident response team lead at Motorola Solutions, performing digital forensics and incident handling services for both enterprise and public safety customers. Her focus at Dragos is developing forensics and incident response tools and processes for uncharted areas of industrial systems. She is also a certified instructor for the Dragos “Assessing, Hunting and Monitoring Industrial Control System Networks” course.

In 2017, Lesley was named a “Top Woman in Cybersecurity” by Cyberscoop news and received the Guidance Enfuse conference “Women in Technology” award. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Network Technologies from DePaul University, A.A.S. in Avionics Systems and Electronics Systems, GIAC GCIH, GREM, GCFA, and GCFE certifications, and currently serves as a Cyber Systems NCO in the US Air Force Reserves.

In her free time, Lesley co-organizes resume and interview clinics at several cybersecurity conferences, blogs and tweets prolifically about infosec, and is a youth martial arts instructor.

Andy Ellis

Andy Ellis is Akamai’s CSO, and his mission is “making the Internet suck less.” Governing security, compliance, & safety for the planetary-scale cloud platform since 2000, he has also designed many of its security products. Andy has also guided Akamai’s IT transformation from a flat password-based network to a distributed, zero-trust enterprise based on strong authentication. Andy is a graduate of MIT, a former USAF officer, part of the Berkman Klein Center, and a lecturer in executive education at MIT & HKS. He is on Twitter as @csoandy, where he discusses security, wine, American football, & hairstyling. Andy has received The Spirit of Disneyland Award, The Wine Spectator’s Award of Excellence (as The Arlington Inn), the Air Force Commendation Medal, & the CSO Compass Award.

David J. Bianco

David Bianco (@DavidJBianco) has been involved in information security for more than 20 years, working with Fortune 500 companies, Wall Street firms, public utilities, and major universities on incident detection and response. He credits his early focus on network security with honing his skills in extracting the most information possible from just the network data, before moving ahead to other areas. Today, he's a Principal Engineer for cybersecurity at Target Corporation. 

Katie Nickels

Katie @likethecoins is the Principal Intelligence Analyst for Red Canary. She has worked on cyber threat intelligence (CTI), network defense, and incident response for nearly a decade for the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD), MITRE, Raytheon, and ManTech. She also serves as an instructor for the SANS FOR578: Cyber Threat Intelligence course, enabling her to share her passion for CTI more broadly. Katie hosts SANS Threat Analysis Rundown (STAR), a popular monthly webcast series that discusses the current threat landscape and cyber threats. She is also the Program Manager at Cyberjutsu Girls Academy (CGA), a program for teenage girls that seeks to inspire exploration and learning in cybersecurity and STEM.

Sara Pickering

Sara is Director of Talent Development for Independent Security Evaluators.

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