Adorning the White Hat

Today has been a relatively busy day, and it’s nice to have a chance to relax. It’s just you and me and a bottle makes three (of delicious Coke Zero). I’m sitting in a very expensive black chair that I wish came with a matching ottoman. But hey, you can’t have everything you want in life. I have a team lead and a boss that like me. Ottomans are optional.

I found out that we have all the study materials available for the GCIA in our Security Center wiki, which is nice because I hear they’re very expensive to buy. It’s my first certification, so I am very excited about it. I’m not degreed in anything. I’ve never done anything academically with computers. I’m completely self-taught. My philosophy is that if you’re going to go into computers, just do it. Skip college. This is not because I hate college or anything. If you go, study something you’re just interested in, as opposed to it being a ticket to somewhere else. The reason a computer degree will not help you with jack or shit is that by the time the textbook is printed, your course material is already out of date. Things change too fast to wait for a textbook cycle.

However, this is not to say that my life has been easy being trained on the job. In a lot of ways, you’re on your own, kid. Go to college if you need to be taught something, because on the job, you’re the teacher. You have to be self-driven and completely willing to pore through thousands of pages of documentation… that’s usually hastily written and most likely incorrect because what’s in there is two versions ago. You’ll have to dig down into applications trying to break them, because it’s better for you to break them than to release something that’s customer-facing and just can’t hang (as is so prevalent in our news media right now…).

Learn as much as you can, as fast as you can, because the money’s not in desktop support. The money is in being able to build things, and alternatively, learning to tear them down. Threat analysis will start with me learning to crack my little ass off, because if I know enough to hack into a mainframe, I know enough to learn how to block it.

It brings morality into the light, but thankfully, I’ve already answered that question. When I lived in Portland, one of my neighbors was a high-level Black Hat, the kind where the FBI knows who you are. If I’d ever wanted to destroy anyone, anywhere, all it would have taken is a cold beer for bribery. And by destroy, I mean obliterate. Wouldn’t be able to walk across the street without getting picked up by the police and bank accounts suddenly on empty.

I learned what kind of person I am.

I am the kind of person that is capable of learning how to destroy so that safety and security can rise from the ash.

Which is interesting, because that’s exactly the path I’m walking in my personal life as well.


One thought on “Adorning the White Hat

  1. You make interesting points about how we can instruct ourselves in various pursuits – it’s intriguing to think about how much we are capable of independently.


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