My Career Journey: Becoming the Real-life Neo
My career journey took its beginning somewhere in the educational system – more specifically during the first month of my Master’s in Computer Science when my professor asked, “who wants to study computer security?” Dreaming of becoming the real Neo or Mr. Robot, I immediately raised my hand! Who wouldn’t want to be the hero in Matrix or Mr. Robot?
I love films! So much that I even produced some (short films) between high school and university, along with working as a waiter and playing and creating computer games – the latter only on a hobby basis though. That stuff is complex and takes heaps of time!
After completing a bachelor’s degree in nanoscience, I realized that the life of a research scientist wasn’t right for me - I need more action and perceptible results on a daily basis. I then evaluated my own competences and preferences and found that I have a knack for puzzle solving and software development. Unfortunately, my bachelor’s degree wasn’t qualifying for a master’s in game development – but for Computer Science. A few years and an exchange trip to South Korea later, I graduated; homeless and unemployed.
Cluelessly Entering the Real World
When I applied to Deloitte, I really had no idea what I was signing up for. Part of me feared that I would end up in a sort of partner-dictatorship with an absurd amount of work. Luckily, I was proved wrong!
Working in the Hacker Team was not exactly what I had imagined. To my surprise, the work was done from a light and open 2nd floor office in close collaboration with great colleagues, and not in a dark basement with half-empty pizza boxes and coke bottles randomly scattered between homemade hardware - or in a hovercraft for that matter. By contrast, the assignments perfectly matched my expectations: I have experienced projects ranging from simple vulnerability scans on a single target to complex and complete “Red Team-assignments”, where the client trains their employees in how to avoid being hacked by letting us do a full-scale attack and then monitor where the “holes” are in the overall security.
Off to Conquer the World
Only two months after signing the contract with Deloitte, I was asked to join a major computer forensics case outside of the country. How could I say no? I had a job by now, but I was still homeless and the outlook of living in hotels, only eating in restaurants and having my travels paid for were too good to pass. So now here I am, leading a team of people who are digging into people’s private lives and preparing evidence to be used in court.
Eight months have passed since I joined this project, and I have learned so much from it. I’ve met so many great people from offices all over the world, tasted so much peculiar food – food I’ve never even heard of. I’ve had the pleasure of advising colleagues way higher in the hierarchy as they respect my opinions, and I’ve explored so many new places (some of which I wouldn’t mind not going back to though).
As my time on this project is slowly running out, I can start focusing on the next chapter of my life: setting up my new apartment, finding a specialization in the awesome world of hacking, and then off to the next project and the next adventure. Bring it on!
Kristoffer Laustsen Blædel, Consultant, Risk Advisory