For this month’s employee spotlight, we spoke with Nicole Dust, who got into cybersecurity after being introduced to security technology in her roles in the financial industry. Nicole believes that learning and teaching are two key elements that help keep her in the game and allow her to help develop the cybersecurity community as a whole.
What led you to your career in cybersecurity?
I was previously working as the Systems Administrator at a financial institution. As you’d expect, cybersecurity was ever-present and often the source of change in the environment. As I was introduced to more and more facets of security, I became more interested. Eventually, I took my first Security Analyst position and loved it. I’ve never looked back.
What is a typical day like for you?
It always shakes out a little differently, but most days include reviewing alerts, threat hunting, attending or managing a meeting or two and researching the answer to whatever puzzle has come across my desk that day. Learning and teaching are two elements I make an effort to include every day. Learning helps me stay in the game, and teaching helps me continue developing the cybersecurity community as a whole.
What is your proudest accomplishment in your career to date?
I’m not sure about a single event, but I’m proudest when I see someone I’ve helped succeed. Whether that’s a promotion, a step toward the person’s goals or just a great day, it is always rewarding to see someone else move forward.
What advice have you been given that stuck with you?
No matter what happens, there’s always something to learn from it. Whether that’s a frustrating interaction with someone, a problem you’re having trouble solving, a mistake that needs to be fixed or just getting through a bad day. The lesson isn’t always obvious, but if you take the time to stop and analyze the situation, there’s always something to be learned. It may not be a silver lining, but nothing is a total loss if you learned something.
What advice would you give to others looking to enter the technology field?
Keep learning, actively. Don’t just wait for someone to tell you to learn about new technology; be proactive. It doesn’t matter if you do that by reading, building a lab or attending a class. The only status quo in this field is change, and if you want to keep up, you have to keep learning.
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Threat Hunter & SOC Senior | Pondurance
Nicole is a Threat Hunter and Security Operations Center (SOC) Senior with eight years of experience in IT administration and information security. In addition to security analysis, she has managed multiprotocol label switching network deployments, active directory and virtual environment migration. Her previous experience includes both SOC work and system administration.