Years ago I saw an online ad for the Security B-Sides Halifax conference in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I was working as an information security professional at the time, but I had never attended any “Infosec” conferences. The introvert in me didn’t like the idea.. “I wouldn’t fit in.”
Then I started thinking..
“If you want to get anywhere in this industry, you need to get yourself out there.”
So I did.
Upon further research, I discovered that Security B-Sides Halifax was happening the day after the first annual Atlantic Security Conference. I logged into LinkedIn, found the Atlantic Security Conference organizer, and connected with him via a mutual connection.
To make a very long story short, I now sit on the Board of Directors for the Atlantic Security Conference. I organize my own Security B-Sides event and other local technology user groups in my area. I’m working in a field that I only dreamed of a few short years ago.
Infosec professionals are actually a very sociable group once you take the time to reach out. The community is very welcoming, which is surprising because the majority of us are introverts.
Follow these simple steps to break into the community.
If you don’t have a Twitter account, get one. Seriously, get one now! There’s a very large Infosec community on Twitter. Follow #infosec. Take part in the discussions. Follow the users who also take part in those discussions. Post relevant information, a link to a personal blog post, or just a link to an interesting Infosec story you found. If you have an Infosec question, ask it! You may be pleasantly surprised at the response time and quality of the answer(s).
The next thing you know, you will be sitting next to someone at an Infosec conference that you follow on Twitter. This still happens to me on a regular basis.
We have all heard about networking over and over, but it actually does work!
Find local tech user groups in your area. If there are none, start one! The user groups don’t have to necessarily revolve around Infosec. Just get out and meet new people with an interest in tech.
If you can, volunteer at a conference. If you can’t volunteer, attend one, like DellWorld for example. Either way, you will meet industry professionals who may be willing to help you later on in your career.
3. Present at conferences and user groups
If someone told me three years ago that I would be presenting at conferences, I would have said they were nuts.
I presented at a conference a few weeks ago.. my sixth in the last three years.
I actually hate presenting, but it gets easier each time. The more I push myself, the better I feel when the talk is done. I know plenty of speakers who feel the way I do, but they put on some awesome talks!
It doesn’t take much to get started. Start small with a lightning talk (5-15 minutes in length).
So get out there and push through that locked gate. You can thank me later when we meet in person at DellWorld.