The content Akash creates is centered around tutorials, education, awareness, and advice on cybersecurity topics. Since we're big on those things here at MyHackerTech, we reached out to learn about T3raByt3's journey into hacking!
Akash prepared a blog post with some practical and invaluable advice for our readers, so we'll start with that. This advice is particularly useful for aspiring ethical hackers or those just starting their careers in cybersecurity.
Some Inspiring Words From Akash (T3raByt3)
I still consider myself to be new within this industry. It's been an amazing experience so far, partly because of the inspiring people I've met along the way, but also because of my own perseverance which has shown me endless opportunities.
This year I’m hoping to contribute more to the industry and to start, I thought it would be worthwhile to start a series including all the resources I’ve learned from, places to network and other measures you can take to become fully immersed in the world that is information security (aka infosec).
A good place to start would be to share some thoughts on expectations as a professional, career options, and common misconceptions that have been developing over the years.
What you put in is what you get out
I’ve chosen to dedicate most of my free time studying and researching. While this may not be feasible or justifiable for some, sometimes it is necessary to remain relevant in this industry. Building your career within infosec is not a 9–5 job, it’s a work in progress; a lifestyle choice, if you will. It’s a commitment that you need to continue developing. The two main reasons for this is that there are so many fields within this industry (I’ll get to this later), and it’s also one that is constantly changing.
If you want to thrive, you'll have to put the effort in. But it's also worth remembering:
- You will never know everything. Find your passion, or something you are interested in, and practice your skills within that discipline.
- Avoid burnout. This is such a common occurrence and I can see why. We often feel like we’re out of our depth, overwhelmed with the amount of content there is to cover, to comprehend. Know that you’re not alone in feeling this, and take steps to notice the signs of burnout, or when you’re taking on too much at any one time. I would suggest focusing on one skill at a time to prevent something like this from happening.
- Similarly, to the point above, while some people (like me), just revel at the chance to have a textbook in our hands, it is super important to have a non-technical, non-infosec hobby too. Remember to have a life outside of work and education!
No two careers are the same
Having spoken to many infosec professionals, one truth became very clear: there is no single way into this industry, and you will rarely find any two people that had the same career path leading to where they are now.
Don’t think it’s impossible to succeed if you don’t come from a computer science or tech background (nor do you need to be an expert programmer!). The key is to keep learning, discovering, and challenging yourself, and that’s what I’m hoping to assist with here.
Fields within the industry
When I first learned about [information| cyber|data |computer|network] security, I had absolutely no idea of how wide this industry actually was. These past couple of years have shown me the many vast and varying disciplines, that I now want to share this with those who are just starting too.
One of the most common misconceptions this community has to offer is that people often believe that there is only red teaming or blue teaming, offensive or defensive security. Well, infosec is so much more complicated than that, and for good reason.
Take a look at the following mindmap that proves just that. There is something for everyone’s skills and interests. There are even some fields that aren’t mentioned, such as OSINT, reverse engineering, malware analysis, cloud security, web application testing, industrial control systems, IT administration, etc.
But naturally, you’d want to be able to experience some of these disciplines before jumping in headfirst right? Well, part one of this series will delve into networking, conferences, and meetups where you can start getting a glimpse of these kinds of work from the perspective of those who do it daily.
A final note: I love being part of such a sharing, collaborative community. Peer reviews and feedback help you learn and grow as an individual, so please feel free to message me or comment throughout the series for any suggestions, or any resources I may have missed. I hope that it will also encourage people to start discussions about their own careers with their colleagues too, especially with those who are trying to break into the industry.
You can get hold of me on Instagram or YouTube, or my other socials:
Our Questions For Akash Sharma aka T3raByt3
Nancy: What do you like most about the cybersecurity community?
Akash: Unlike other technical areas, I feel that cybersecurity has great unity and a sense of collaborative-effort. I see people here contributing their efforts as much as they can, in order to help the community grow. People in this community are selfless when it comes to voluntarily contributing to events and collaborative projects. Let that be workshops, seminars, webinars, etc, I see, the professionals do feel it's their responsibility to share their knowledge and experience with the beginners. This is the best part of the whole community!
Nancy: How do you see the industry changing in the future?
Akash: This is a big, multifaceted question. The enterprise threat surface grows and evolves while threat actors are clever and continually find new avenues to compromise information. Previously enterprise security teams could focus on on-premises systems, but those teams now need to consider the cloud with AWS, Azure, and all of the SaaS tools that contain sensitive information or could provide an avenue to compromise other information.
The number of cybersecurity bad actors is bound to increase over the near future. Global education standards will continue to improve in emerging markets, and unless emerging market economies develop to support the technology talent pool, many skilled in technology may be forced to turn their skills to the black hat community. Emerging countries, as well as other groups, will increasingly see cyber warfare as an opportunity to be a global player which was not previously an area they could afford with conventional warfare. This will accelerate as sophisticated attack tools become commoditized.
Nancy: Do you have any advice for aspiring cybersecurity professionals?
Akash: Cybersecurity is a domain which asks for expertise in all aspects. Drawing from my experience, here are some pointers that might help beginners to start-off in the cybersecurity industry:
- Never start in security. Start with IT Infrastructure, Helpdesk, or Development.
- Don't waste time - dive into security and fill the technical gaps as you go.
- Survey the field. Follow influential cybersecurity evangelists on social media. The most successful ones probably aren't calling themselves cybersecurity evangelists. They're just constantly dropping knowledge bombs, tips, and tricks that can help your career.
- Combine reading and practice. Several companies produce high-value security content on a pretty regular basis.
- Seek deep learning, not just reading. Have you ever taken a class, and then tried months later to use the knowledge that you allegedly only learned to discover that you have forgotten all the important things? Sure, you 're going to be in a rough spot if you separate learning from using the experience. This could be one of the biggest challenges when plunging into a more technical security role.
- Be dauntless. Don’t let your lack of knowledge stop you. There are organizations out there willing to invest in people with the right traits and a desire to learn. Apply for the job, even if you don’t think you’re qualified. Maybe you get a no. So what? Try again at a different company. Or try again at that same company later. Reading will only get you so far … applying your knowledge will get you to the next level.