I’ve been in an IT career since 1987, starting as a PC troubleshooter and security consultant. Then I went on to be a trainer, network technician, network supervisor, director of networks and technology, VP of IT, principal security architect and finally evangelist. I changed companies along the way and sometimes stuck it out for over a decade with the same company. I’ve hired hundreds of people, read thousands of resumes, and fired a few dozen people. I’ve had success and luck through most of it.
Though not a career expert, I’ve been around long enough, as both an employee and a boss, to see what qualifications and traits allow a person to have a long, successful, gratifying IT security career. Here are the seven I think are most important:
1. Be a self-starter
Hiring managers have a bare minimum set of qualifications that a prospective job candidate must possess to make it to the in-person interview. Once you are sitting in that interview chair, whether you are hired comes down to a trait that you either have or you don’t, and that is whether you are a self-starter.
All hirers want to think that the person they are hiring for the position can be told what needs to be done and have it done well without a lot of handholding. If I interview someone and feel that they are not only smart and capable but will make my life easier for hiring them, I try my best to make them an employee. These prized candidates bring me a history of success, don’t blame others for failures, and can hit the ground running.