Hack My Career: Advice from HackerOne Employees

June 5, 2024 Marina Briones

Today, we gathered insights from five HackerOne employees offering career advice to illuminate this journey and provide guidance.

Kayla Underkoffler, Senior Security Technologist in Pennsylvania, U.S., and Frances H., Enterprise Senior Customer Success Manager in the Bay Area, U.S., share how networking and leveraging social tactics can help grow opportunities in the industry.

“Start with co-workers. Connect with them and see what catches your interest. Also, I encourage everyone to attend local networking/learning events. BSides or local security/technology meetups are great events. If you feel the topic is more technical than your current comfort level, take that discomfort as a sign that you should immediately sign up. There’s nothing wrong with attending an event or gathering to listen and learn. Stretching your comfort zone is how you grow."

I'm a big believer in always being a learner. If you can meet in person, taking a community course, an executive leadership program at a local university, or any continuing education initiative, it’s a great way to make connections. Volunteering on nonprofit boards, like I do with a veterinary nonprofit and a youth orchestra, is also a great way to network without the awkwardness of formal events. Most folks I have met are involved in the tech industry to some capacity.” 

Breaking into the tech industry can often lead to self-doubt and imposter syndrome, which can be a significant hurdle. However, it's important not to let it stop you. Alek Relyea, Senior Manager of Customer Success Management in Texas, U.S., and Josh Donlan, Senior Sales Engineer in Florida, U.S., offer valuable advice on overcoming these doubts and confidently delving into the industry's technical aspects.

“Dutifully ignore all feelings of imposter syndrome; it's just your brain tricking you into believing you don't deserve success. Simultaneously, stay close to your humility; millions of others are just as intelligent, talented, and deserving of your success. While you walk this tightrope of confidence, never take yourself too seriously.”

“Non-technical people working in cybersecurity often shy away from learning the industry's technical aspects. There's a sense that you must know all the answers before diving into the technical side of cybersecurity. Still, if people knew all the answers, cybersecurity wouldn't exist! Find an organization that fosters your learning and development, and dive in.”

Pamela Greenberg, Director of Talent Strategy, San Francisco, U.S., provides a fresh perspective on career transitions, highlighting the significance of self-awareness and steady advancement.

“My career advice: It's never too late to make a change. We spend a lot of our lives at work, so it's important to be honest with yourself about what you enjoy and your values to build a career that aligns with what you need and want. If making a big change feels scary or out of reach, try to break it down into smaller changes that move you in the direction you want. And it's ok to take a sideways or even a backward step when making a change -- if you're invested in learning and growing in a new field, you'll probably be able to make up whatever ground you lose in the transition relatively quickly. Plus, the improvements to your life from being where you want to be are probably more valuable than any title or compensation loss you experience.”

Whether you're looking to broaden your network, gain more confidence, or make a career change, there is a place for you in the tech industry, regardless of your background. Don't hesitate to take a chance and apply for the positions that pique your interest. You never know where they may take you!

Check out open roles at hackerone.com/careers.

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