2019 – that’s a wrap!

Every year, I wonder if this year will be a quiet one. A year of contemplation, organizing, deepening. This was definitely NOT that year!

2019 feels like a total whirlwind. I’m not even entirely sure where the year went. What I do know is, it’s been a good year overall for me. I’m going to start with a quick review of the goals I set last year:

Prepare for my Shodan: My dojo attendance this year has been spotty at best. That being said, I’m starting to feel a little less like a bag of wet concrete when I move, so I’m going to say progress has been made here.

Read 50 books: Nope! I’ve finished 13, which is actually fewer than in 2018. Most of my reading time has been at night, before bed, and due to baby-induced sleep deprivation, I’ve often skipped reading and gone straight to sleep.

Complete three speaking engagements: Close! I intentionally decided not to submit a 3rd talk this year. I had a really solid idea for a talk to bring to a software testing conference, but it needs a LOT more work before it’s ready for public consumption.

So, in terms of goals, it might not seem like the best year. However, it still feels like a win overall. A few of the highlights:

  • I’ve been working hard to up my cybersecurity game, and thanks to some great help from an awesome community, I’ve made some progress there: spoke at AtlSecCon again in 2019, started working through some VulnHub machines, and started compiling a mind map of security resources
  • I was able to to help a friend find a good job, thanks to the network of awesome people I’m lucky enough to know
  • I’m probably the healthiest I’ve been in quite a while, thanks in part to some minor tweaks to my diet
  • I’ve made progress on the Bachelor of Education in Adult & Post-Secondary Education; one course away from completing the Certificate component

For 2020, I’m going to try a different approach: OKR. Objectives and Key Results is an approach which starts by answering “Where do I want to go?”, with an Objective statement. Key Results (and there can be more than one) associated with the Objective should contribute to the answer “How will I know I’m getting there?” There’s a really good post about what OKRs are, and how you can leverage them on the Trello blog.

2020 Objective: Focus my work on cybersecurity

Ever since my first security classes in college, I’ve wanted to work in the field. I kind of let that slip for several years, because I didn’t see how I could “break in” to the field. Of course, this was the mid-2000s, and there wasn’t really much of a cybersecurity field at that point. Now that I’ve had several years of exposure and dabbling, I want to make this a bigger part of what I focus on in my career.

I’m not entirely sure what the final shape of that will look like yet; I’ve found that the best way to manage my professional life is to recognize that unexpected opportunities can be a generalist’s best friend. One of my greatest strengths is that I can pick up tools and techniques pretty quickly, thanks to a solid base in the fundamentals of technology, plus years of software testing. After all, software testing by its very nature requires constant learning and re-learning!

That being said, the KR part of OKR needs to be met, so for now at least I can include the following Key Results:

  • Complete at least 10 VulnHub follow-alongs or solo attempts
  • Speak about a security-focused topic at 2 conferences
  • Write 10 security-focused blog posts
Boldly Go into 2020!

Cheers to 2020! I hope yours is as awesome as I plan to make mine.

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