Monday, February 9, 2015

How can I get ahead in infosec?

I get asked this question a lot, particularly by interns who want to get ahead.

My first advice is usually this:
More than anything, you should work on your writing. No matter how smart you are, if you can't communicate coherently it doesn't really matter. People, especially those who hire you because they lack your technical skills, will judge the quality of your work based on the quality of your writing.
Now some have pointed out to me that this isn't fair.  Fine. I won't argue about what's fair and what isn't, but at the end of the day a company will choose to hire you or they won't. Once you get that first job, they either choose to hire you again or they don't.  That decision is based mostly on your product and its perceived value.  Sure, technical skills rule. We don't need any more paper tigers in this industry.  But for goodness sakes - if you want a prime job in infosec, you MUST be able to write coherently.

Now this isn't to say that if you can't write, then there's nothing for you in infosec.  You can ride your tech skills and someone else will turn your gibberish into a product they can put in front of a client.  But is that really what you want?  Imagine the opportunities that will silently pass you by because you don't know the difference between "there", "they're" and "their" (and management knows it).  Bottom line, if you have some tech skills and want to take your career to the next level, solidify your writing.