Sunday, May 10, 2009

Finding Your Niche

I have been thinking a lot about my niche lately. What can I really do better than anyone else and get paid well while doing it? Money was less of a concern when I was younger and I wanted to work in the games field, but more independent. While I would love to have a well paying games gig now, it is much less likely since I have been out of the field for several years.

The game playing, reviewing and some developing didn't pay all that well, but I sure had fun. I was probably one of the more prolific reviewers at the time, though I don't know how I would do today. My tastes certainly vary from the modern offerings, especially since blood and guts seems to be shoved into just about anything.

I am loving my current work in the information security area, but that is just part of the picture. I tend to pursue something with a passion for a while and then go toward something else. Right now it is learning about infosec and getting a bunch of certifications along the way. I have several SANS/GIAC certifications and will be taking the CISM in June and the CISSP is likely in August (finally). I did get the CSSLP based on my experience, though secure development is definitely both a good fit for me given my experience and what I am digging into.

What will come next? Good question. How can you make really good money and get paid to write all the time? That is the big question. I can communicate, a very valuable skill. Having some technical chops is great too, though I always want more.

My big quest now is figuring out what skills I need to build in the next few years so I can have a much more flexible lifestyle in the future. Figuring that out is the toughest thing of all.

Which gets me back to my point: Finding your niche can be hard, especially if you want to do something unique with that niche. I am confident I will find something unique, I always have. I just want to find it sooner rather than later!

Why have you read this far? Boredom would be one option, but my bet is you are facing similar questions. If I had complete answers, I would already be following it. Though I am convinced that pursuing things with a passion and making yourself the best you can be is still the best thing you can do. The problems come in when picking what to pursue. Too many options means it is impossible to pursue them all.

I will write more later as I think this through.


Sunday, May 03, 2009

Making a test post from my cell phone/PDA.

The Risk of Discussing Your True Thoughts

We live in a very wired world. In the past, it was much easier to separate your work and "other" persona. Now, it is much harder to do that. Take my blogging here. I am sure I have earned some scorn from some because of my thoughts here (or would if they noticed them), but is that just a price I have to pay? Do I need to squelch my contribution to the public discourse of any controversial issues since it could keep me from getting a future job?

As you can tell, especially using this blogging site, all my blogs ultimately link to the others. Someone who reads my Brad on Security blog could also chain here. In some ways I really don't care. I have always marched to my own tune. I do good work, but I don't fit in a mold very well (another problem I am facing while pondering my future career direction in the other blog).

This makes me not want to work someplace that would discount my very strong technical skills merely because of my thoughts posted here. I don't know that it has happened yet, but it is certainly a distinct possibility since a few of the views I hold strongly are certainly against the spoken norm.

I do believe more people agree with me than will speak up, but it is quite possible that a potential future boss would read here and decide I must truly be ignorant in spite of my experience, education and certifications, because I don't believe everything we see in the world is a result of blind chance.

So be it. I could try to purge things I suppose, but that would not be all that fruitful, since the record is out there and Google remembers forever. :)

I also don't want to live in a world where I can't express myself. I may keep some thoughts more private, since I am not independently wealthy at this point, but I refuse to stuff it all just because it might bother someone. If you can't handle a strong thinker, then I don't want to work for you, plain and simple.

I remain convinced that I can add enough value enough places that the risk is acceptable.