Showing up: How I got my first job in Cyber
By Anthony J. Berg, Atlanta Principal, Cyber Risk Services, Deloitte & Touche LLP
For many young adults, working at a professional services organization such as Deloitte is an aim long before it is a reality. It typically takes a strong academic resume, specialized skills, relevant internships or professional experience, and (in some cases) professional certifications in order to even be considered for a job interview.
You don’t just stumble into this line of work.
I know something about stumbling into work.
In my young adult years, I cycled through more than a dozen jobs. I stocked shelves, waited tables, cleaned offices, worked in retail—the gamut. During my years studying at Lee University, I typically worked three jobs on the side.
I had a vision at the time: I wanted to be a science teacher. I earned my degree in biological sciences with a teaching certificate, and soon started working as a math and science teacher. I loved the students and the teaching but other aspects of the job turned out to be a poor fit. My wife recognized this too and frequently encouraged me to look for something new; a career that would not only play to my strengths but keep me engaged.
One day I heard that my school system was hiring 16 new IT personnel. As I read about the positions, my interest was piqued: I was someone who could get seriously excited about managing computer networks. This was in 1998, when it was still possible to get such a job with little to no actual working IT experience.
To help bolster my resume, I quickly studied and became a Microsoft Certified Professional. I figured I was a shoo-in for this entry-level job. Turned out, the school system was Novell-based. I wasn’t hired.
A couple of weeks later I received a phone call from the person who had interviewed me for the position. He called me first because my last name was alphabetically the first on the list of candidates. One of the people he had hired hadn’t shown up on the first day of work. He offered me the job.
I showed up. And every day since then I remember the importance of showing up.
It may sound simple. But throughout my career, I’ve succeeded and moved forward in part because people around me know that I’ll be there, I’ll say yes, and I will do what I promise.
In fact, that’s how I ended up at Deloitte. In the years after I was hired for that first IT job, I grew my skills to encompass a range of capabilities, particularly in Cyber Risk. I moved out of the public school system and into the private sector. One day, a previous manager of mine called. He had taken a job at Deloitte and asked if I could meet him and a Deloitte partner at Starbucks. I showed up. And soon after that meeting I showed up for my first Deloitte client, ready to dive into the world of consulting.
In my work in Cyber Risk at Deloitte Risk and Financial Advisory, I have to show up every day for my clients. After all, they have hackers and other threats showing up at their digital doorsteps every day. It’s my job to help them be secure, vigilant, and resilient. If I don’t show up, problems will.
My colleagues and clients know that they can count on me to show up with the right solutions to new challenges. In 2009, I spearheaded the first implementation of SailPoint solutions for one of our clients. To make sure it went smoothly, I spent day and night learning everything I could to become an expert in the SailPoint products. Today I manage Deloitte’s alliance with that vendor—an alliance that we expect to yield more than $50 million in revenues next year.
Make no mistake. Success in this (and any) profession requires a vision of what you want to achieve and many steps along the way in order to get there. I took the long road to a career at Deloitte.
But as you fix your eyes on where you want to be tomorrow, don’t forget to show up where you need to be today.
About the author:
Anthony J. Berg joined Deloitte’s Cyber Risk Services practice in 2009. He is the father of six children and his family lives on a hobby farm in north Georgia where they homeschool their kids, raise a few chickens, and Anthony builds furniture.