September 3, 2021

Those who did get a career, congratulations from us 99% who never did

I wrote this in LinkedIn but decided, at least for the time being, to use this TA here. I have *a lot* of cyber pros in my network and people get so personal. Also I’m Eu*opean.

To all who’ve become employed in cybersecurity: grats for making it through the HR.

Now, allow me to shed light on what it’s like for us peons who never did.

Unlike the seemingly numerous late bloomers in the industry, I got involved while still quite young: I was but 16 when I began to teach myself about computer networks, Linux and programming. I even went on to study cybersecurity first in university of applied sciences and then in university proper.

Routinely working through from dawn to dusk (for some time along a software engineer job), I studied everything about the field I could get my hands on. Did all the possible coursework, set up a lab and completed assignment after assignment on Vulnhub.

I am now 28 years old. You might think that at some point along the road I’d gotten the chance to do these things for a living. Respectfully, get the fuck outta here. Of the dozens, if not hundreds, of applications to cybersecurity positions and internships where I articulated my realistic skillset and years of motivated work, I have been invited to two (2) interviews.

From both, I was promptly told to leave, from another because the hiring manager found it offensive to be interviewing a mere corporal in reserve (naturally, as a proud reserve officer he inquired my rank and proceeded to tell me to fuck off, snickering). For the other one I was offered no reason even between the lines. They just quit a hefty bit too early. After that, I haven’t applied to a single position, nor will I again. It’s done.

So yeah, whatever you did to yield a job in cybersecurity, you can pat yourself on the back way hard because it was a gargantuous success. I myself continue to come up with things I might want to do in my life instead but so far it doesn’t look great. Painting out my frequent nightmares in my small studio, alone and on unemployment benefits isn’t what I’d expected when I took my first steps but hey what the hell.

Comments

tweedge

This is absolutely symptomatic of big problems with hiring in our industry, and I’m sorry that this has been such a struggle. For needing so many hands, contemporary hiring practices are great at slapping good applicants away – and it sounds like even when you got a foot in the door, people were shitty to you. That pisses me off honestly, and I know you probably don’t want to “name and shame” at this stage in your job search, but I’m always curious to know where the toxic hotspots are.

I would encourage you not to give up, though. Be careful about how you’re approaching your job search, and work on putting out applications with a focus on volume. On my last search, I sent about 200 applications – even as someone with brief field experience, but the ever-coveted Security Engineer title – before receiving offers.

I would also be very happy to look over your resume. It sounds like you’re getting filtered out by prescreening – you *need* to make sure you have keywords that even the worst resume-reading “AI” could pick up, and I would recommend using the CAR technique to write answers that are more likely to get picked up by recruiters. This subreddit has a pretty good track record with bulking up resumes and helping people get jobs, for what it’s worth.

Let me know if there’s anything else I can help with and I’d be happy to discuss 1:1 as well.

3mbly

I’ve never understood why it’s like this, there is supposedly this big market for cyber security and we see all these disasters happening with gigantic companies yet no one will fucking hire us. I know experience is a sticking point but it still frustrates and amazes me that people are unable to find jobs in a field that’s supposed to be super low on man power and incredibly important.

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