Your Path into Cybersecurity: “PoC your Skills” (Series 1: Ep 7)

A series based on the original 10 step pathway

In my original post, I mentioned PoC’ing your skills as a necessary component to securing your path. So, bear with me while I break this down. 

PoC your Skills…and by PoC, I mean, 'Proof 👏🏽of 👏🏽Concept 👏🏽' 

Glossary: 

Proof - evidence or argument establishing or helping to establish a fact or truth of a statement;

Of - expressing the relationship between a part and a whole;

Concept - an abstract idea; a general notion;

Skills - the ability to do something well; expertise

I listed the aforementioned terms, not in a comedic manner nor to discredit any reader’s ability to formulate words and their meaning, rather to dissect frequently used terms and the underlying value of conducting a PoC. 

On any journey, especially one embedded within Cybersecurity, educating oneself is a major part of that experience.

You can go to school (or back to school), read more books, listen to more lectures or podcasts, attend more conferences and meet-ups, and if you never actually turn any of that theory into practice, you DON’T HAVE SKILLS.

So make it a habit to merge the theoretical with the practical…and what better way of doing so than working on some sort of project that you can call your own (or partially your own). The InfoSec community is quite awesome and I’m really glad to be a part of one that welcomes all hungry, willing and smart participants. So, take advantage of it - soak up all that you can from the community and in return, give back. Perhaps, you sponge a great deal of knowledge for a year, work on some project(s) of your own and once your are comfortable, contribute to larger scale projects or offer your own to the community. 

Project based learning has been proven to be more effective than passive learning. Passive learning does not prepare one for the real world; project based learning does. So, work on a project of interest, based on a challenge you face; create the solution and share it. It also acts as an assistant to building a portfolio of knowledge assets. These assets compound, as you become more equipped. By working through or completing projects, you become more resourceful and you can demonstrate the theoretical knowledge you’ve amassed. This may be the tipping point in an interview process that leads an employer to choose you over your competition. Not only did this help me in landing my first internship, but it is also one that I use to this day in my interview process. I want to see what candidates have created, I want to know where you failed, how you used those lessons, how you regrouped and redirected the energy, did a new idea evolve out of the “mishap”? If one hasn’t made any mistakes or screwed up on the job or on a project, then you simply haven’t done enough. You’ve been playing it safe and I’m not impressed.

Napolean Hill said, “Tell the world what you intend to do, but first show it!”