Host Tanya Janca talks with guest Jessica Dodson to learn what it’s like to be a Customer Engineer (CE) in Security & Identity Modernization @ Microsoft. You can learn more about Jess here:
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welcome to the we hack purple podcast where each week we meet with a different member of the information security industry to talk with them about their job how they got to where they are today and how you can too we have purple is not only a podcast we are an online community and especially an academy this week's episode is sponsored by 10 security and i'm going to tell you a lot more about them as time goes on but for now i know what you all want you just want to meet my guest so let's bring out jess dodson hi hello welcome thank you for being on the show thank you for having me okay so whenever i start i usually do the whole thing where i'm like please tell us your name and your job title and a bit about your job so my name is jess dodson um i am more commonly known online as girl germs so i am very prolific on the twitters um my job title is customer engineer which it's changed recently i originally started as a premier field engineer but i'm now a customer engineer and i work for microsoft so i am a boots on the ground engineer helping customers with microsoft products that is cool we had someone else where she was a sales engineer and it was sort of different and we had another person who was a customer success engineer and i like how they're all slightly different and also i like it when people tell me how they get their jobs so i just i'm a super curious person and the thing that um oh someone's saying and surely a 1010 winner by room raider i don't know what that means but yeah um but like i just i like to know what it's like to do a job like what the cool parts are what the not cool parts are and like i'm really curious about how people get to where they are so that's what we're going to talk about today um so yeah sorry my job's weird my job my job is very weird how i fell into my job yeah can you can you describe your job to us like or maybe like what a day like is in the life of your job so my job i spend most of my days it used to be i would go and travel to customers not so much these days i haven't actually traveled in 18 months and i'm not gonna lie i do like that i like being able to work from home and not have to wear pants it's lovely um but most of my time is spent going and traveling to customers and speaking to customers so at the moment that's been remote via exactly like this i talk via webcam and via audio um in meetings to my customers where i am teaching them or assisting them with bettering their security posture using microsoft products so my days recently are almost 100 percent azure sentinel it's pretty much what i have been living and breathing for the last 18 months so that is that's a day in the life of my job do they have trials of that yet because they didn't when it first came out and i'm wondering no of course not because that would be so good oh yeah right other people in the chat are agreeing that your background and your room is totally awesome oh thank you people love your room yes this is my happy place that's good that's good okay so you're you are the boss of sentinel got it okay so [Laughter] you're like sentimental yeah in my little patch of the woods so i'm one of those customer engineers based out of australia and new zealand who helps customers in my little patch look after sentinel that's awesome also australia is awesome and i've never been to brisbane but i would really like to fix that sometime i know i've been visiting and i went to melbourne they're both awesome but all i hear is well you haven't been to brisbane so like what have you really done with your life i do agree you haven't seen the best parts yet yeah well i don't know it was pretty amazing okay back to the marathon tonya stanley okay you know it's me so what types of personality traits do you do you think someone would need to be able to do your job because before you used to have to travel all the time and now you don't need to travel all the time um so i it's really interesting actually i've been having some discussions recently about what makes a good customer engineer so from my perspective you need to be good at teaching and not necessarily doing so i find that because my job involves helping people understand how to use the tools the best in their environment that it's that that teaching we are not in sales i don't do sales i am a salesperson's worst nightmare when it comes to like security stuff i'm like i don't care what you're using as long as you're using something um so it's it's awful but teaching them how to use what they have to the best of their ability so being able to understand and very quickly grasp what an organization is trying to do and learn very quickly what an organization's motives are from a security perspective is really important oh that's fantastic i wish that everyone did that because quite often it's it's just like you have to do it our way or the highway have you have you ever heard a sales person be like well you're using it wrong it's like well i'm giving you money and i want to use the product and i could think it can do this so like wait do you not want my money or what's going on and that is very much like my job is to try and find ways to utilize what they have what they're paying for in the best way possible within their infrastructure because we've got so many different security tools security products security appliances how do we integrate them together to give the best bang for buck for your socks that's what i want to do yeah how long does it take to learn all these tools because you know a whole bunch of them now and um and that takes time like are you a really super quick learner i i well i am but i would preface that with i don't know everything so it's one of those ones where you go into security and you're like do you know about this or do you know about that i'm like i know these bits in deep but there are other tools that i just i don't know anything about um so it depends on like what tools so for me azure sentinel i know a fair bit i wouldn't say i am like uh like jedi level master but i've i've got a fair bit of experience and i've got some expertise in it because i've been using it so much and i've implemented it or helped implement it with a number of organizations um but like something like cloud up security i'm like i have no idea like i'm sorry you'll have to speak to somebody else i'm willing to admit that i don't know everything oh yeah well no one can know everything like that's impossible um and having that quick learning is really really important so you can pick up on things and and wanting to learn is probably more exciting so if you are keen to learn and want to learn then my role is really exciting cool um do you love learning because i have a feeling to do your job well you'd have to love learning yeah loving being able to poke new things loving being able to try out new things um for me as well i also get a lot of excitement because i am very what's known as transactional so i don't stick with the same customer every single time i deal with different customers each time so learning new organizations meeting new people um understanding their business because it could be completely different range of businesses and that's really exciting for me as well does this mean um so like a thing with sales when we talked to the sales engineer she was really really shy and really introverted and then she ended up super blossoming into sales and she was telling us all about it and i'm like that sounds so hard but i've always been ridiculously extroverted and so how do you feel about this because like you seem pretty darn extroverted i am somewhat extroverted but at the same time i find that because i'm now dealing with new people every time and having to like take on that almost like that that mediator kind of perspective of having to get people to be talking and get people to participate by the end of the week i'm just peopled out just like on the weekend i'm very very intimate i'm like that's it i'm not seeing anyone i'm not going anywhere i'm hiding in my bedroom and watching tv yeah yeah i think though that like there's a myth that extroverts always always always want to be surrounded by people it's like we do need alone time right like yeah definitely right i honestly had never um seen my limits until um yeah i was traveling and speaking at conferences so much that i was just like oh wow and i remember being at a conference that i really love but i needed a break so i went two or three blocks away to a starbucks and because i had some work emails to do and i was like i'm gonna like do this thing for my boss and and then a guy came up and he's like oh i'm from the conference i saw you and then he sits down and i'm like oh i kind of have some work to do and he's like uh like why are you ignoring me yeah but i i need some and he was just like ah she's such a jerk like i'm like four blocks away from the conference like i don't what and i was just like i think i need to hide yeah yeah and i've had that i've had that going to conferences and there are people who are coming up to you who you've met online and they they want to talk to you and it's it's like it's usually fine for a short period of time and then after a while you're just like i just want to hide with safe people for a little while just so i i don't have to perform almost so yeah i i totally get it yeah it and like it doesn't mean that you're not super super extroverted it's just um yeah it's just like there's like there's a buffer and the buffer's full yeah and you can't be extroverted all the time like it's just it's not possible and for my job and for the role that i do i do kind of have to be extroverted like i have to be on and try to engage the customer as much as possible and it's a lot of talking so i'm never i'm never sitting at my desk really without a drink bottle and if i am it's usually empty because i've drunk it all um because you talk so much that you end up actually going horse like i lose my voice by thursday ah yeah yeah oh my gosh yes so much yes that is happening here do you do you think that someone that's really really shy would be able to excel at your job or maybe they would be able to do it but not be super pleased about it yeah absolutely i think the reason that people excel at this job is because they're passionate about the technology that they're helping people with so you don't have to be an extrovert to be good at it if you love the tech that you're working with and you're really passionate about it you're going to do really really well so you don't have to be an extrovert to do this job okay that's awesome that's super helpful i totally have way more questions just to be clear you're getting distracted that's why i don't i'm really good at that though just to be clear um getting distracted my specialty i i'm trying really hard not to talk about making drones that have chainsaws attached to them for the whole session because i was cutting a tree down and there was like this really high branch we couldn't get and i was like don't you wish we had a drone and then my significant other was just like you're never allowed to drone if you think you're gonna attach it chainsaw to it and i'm just like plotting on my own like how much is it i could totally do this i know right i'm like otherwise we have to like climb up in the tree it's like so hard i'm like the drone anyway okay on track so sorry drones are cool okay so what types of technical skills do you think someone would need to try to get into a job that's like yours like are there certain like basis spaces they could cover or yeah so in order to be able to do this kind of a role and it's it's really cool actually i've actually been involved in interviewing for people coming into my position which has been really awesome um so from my perspective the technical skills you need you really need a good base understanding of security security operations security products security terminology but also identity so a lot of the work we do ties really tightly to identity based stuff so um understanding identity principles and authentication parts and protocols so that is that technical grounding that you need to be able to understand how all the pieces kind of interact um and i think if you've got that pretty much any type of engineer role can sit on top of that it's very platform and product agnostic as long as you've got those basics you could then become an engineer pretty much anywhere ever ever since i switched from dev to security i'm like why is it always identity like everything ties into identity every single thing just ends up it's like well but identity so yeah i had to learn that pretty fast like as a dev i knew it was a thing but it's so it's just like a big part of everything okay i like this so that kind of ties in yeah yeah so that kind of ties in nicely to how i got the job so i was an identity systems administrator first so i was a cis admin for about 15 years um predominantly focusing on identity systems so i was looking after um large active directory environments and that was how i kind of fell into this so i was originally an identity engineer that just kind of sidestepped into security because they tie so neatly together they do they do what was the the trigger was there like a specific thing that happened or did we slowly lure you over with all of our cookies like how did that work the cookies helped um no it was um i was doing some work at my previous role doing um an active directory security assessment and i have a lovely gentleman by the name of russell tompkins to blame who was an engineer uh with microsoft who came in and did that assessment and i realized that there was so much that was red and broken and i'm like oh my god we have to fix this and so i went up to our security team and our security team are like we're governance and policy we don't do any of that operation stuff and i'm like so we have to actually do something about this so i went down the path of having to try and fix up some of this stuff and learning more about the security of the systems and how to do it better i started speaking about it so i spoke at a conference i spoke at um uh ignite no was it ignite or tech head back then i can't remember at here in australia on the gold coast about active directory security and that kind of led me down the path of identity co-mingled with security and then now just security really [Music] it's good we can lure you to the dark side it's good we need all the help we could get and you have cookies we do we really do i feel like at some point i should have cookies beside me but then i'll probably just eat cookies our sound engineer will be like tanya you can't actually eat the cookies it's actually allowed to eat a cookie when you anyway okay so i have more questions so what if someone so like what types of like is there so if there isn't it's okay but is there specific training or specific work experience someone could try to get so they could kind of like lead up to this type of job so sometimes people are like yeah you take this course read this book you do this but that's when you want to become an accountant but it's not the same with security things so any hints or clues on how someone could try to get there would be good i'm very much of the mindset that i don't think you need a very structured learning path to get into security i think security is one of those things that people find that they are interested in or passionate about and it's almost like a side step to get into it so for me i would say if you have an interest in security and it's something that you feel that you are wanting to get into or are passionate about you could start by joining some user groups and attending some some local user groups or virtual ones um have a read of some some stuff online do some online courses and take a look at what you're currently doing in your role so for me i feel almost like a teacher so i feel that anyone who's been in any kind of a teaching position be it um formal teaching or student lecturing or all of that kind of stuff could quite easily do my job if they can get those technical aspects up to speed and also have that passion for it so i don't think you need a very specific background to be able to do security work on the flip side to that though i feel that for security people anyone who has operational background or operational experience so has been a system administrator or a help desk admin or has been in the trenches as i call it you've got a really unique view of security from the point of view of building the systems maintaining the systems and the usability of it so security is great provided that we're still able to use those systems so seeing it from a user's perspective and i think a lot of the time we miss that like it's great if it's secure but if you can't use it what's the point yes so much yes oh my gosh yeah yeah i remember uh in the canadian government someone saying years ago they had talked to the cyber arm and one of the people said well if we could just unplug them from the internet we wouldn't have all these problems but they weren't kidding they were like really deadpan and the devs like so no uh do you have accessories yeah like we all make those jokes wouldn't our lives be great if we had no users yes but then we wouldn't have a job sorry it's yeah it's so true okay so i i feel like part of what you're saying too like are part of your experiences is like if you have a different job in tech if you like volunteer to do that security work you could gain job experience in that area and before you know it it's like hey don't you need a person on the security team i know someone who might be interested yeah who could fit in that role um and i think it's it's very much that i hate the buzzwords you know like when they start talking about like devsecops i hate it when i try and mush it together but security operations for me is really that so it's operation staff who are passionate about security and are passionate about either helping security do it better or are passionate from that security perspective but want to understand the operational role so yeah i think it's really important to get both sides of the picture yeah i feel too like it would be really hard to be good at security if you didn't understand where the people are coming from who actually own and operate and create the thing that you're trying to secure right like a locksmith that doesn't understand doors or handles or the fact that people need to get in and out it's just like oh well i switched that's exactly it no one has the key buddy well it's to me i i think of it in exactly those terms like from a security perspective the the easiest way to secure um a room is to literally take away all the handles so no one can get in but it removes the usability of the door and security needs to be very aware that the products that we're we're using and the the security um uh assessments and tools that we're trying to put in place we can't block what our users are trying to do they're just going to go around us yes yes everyone listen to jess i didn't mean for that to rhyme but it did awesome i should have that as a sticker yes yes listen to jess okay so very briefly i'm going to thank our sponsor because it is that time of the podcast i want to thank our sponsor so it is not the sponsor we've had for the past several months we have a new sponsor with our previous sponsors blessing just to be clear 10 security so 10 security uh some of the the people the amazing volunteers who created defect dojo they are 10 security and guess what they do they implement defect dojo all over the planet and so 10 security has sponsored our podcast and a whole bunch a whole plethora of people going through our diversity scholarship so thank you greg thank you matt we really appreciate you and also the secure coding course is coming out any day now so we're actually doing the final third round of qa starting tomorrow morning and ideally next week we make all of the fixes if anyone finds anything and then we go live the following monday yes or maybe on the weekend depending upon how well qa goes so uh look up academy.wehackpurple.com and very very soon oh yes and one more thing so if you go to newsletter that we have purple.com secure dash coding dash course you can sign up between now and i guess when we go live which might be next week or might be monday depending upon how good q8 because we're doing a third q a so usually we're pretty good by then but anyway um you get 20 off if you sign up in advance and you buy in the first week so that is enough advertising and marketing for now thank you for your patience jess um so um i want to ask uh i want to ask the cheese question so this is called the cheese question because um when so i grew up really poor and then when i became a software developer i remember being in the grocery store one day and like i wanted to buy cheese and i was like looking at two different cheese and they both look super delicious i like really love cheese and i was like oh i don't know which one i should get and then i realized that i made enough money i could buy both and that i didn't even have to like count all the pennies for my groceries that week i could just buy groceries and just get the foods i wanted and it's like it blew my mind and when people are selecting which careers they want to work in um for some of them how much money people make is important so does your role pay well and like that's kind of according to you if that makes sense um yeah because being a sophomore is pretty good yeah and i i do feel that my job pays very very well so when i and i won't give explicit details um yeah so i came from a public sector and i was working four days a week part-time after i came back from having my daughter so i was working four days a week and then i got my offer to come and work for microsoft to work five days a week that extra day literally doubled my income so jumping across made a big difference to my quality of life um and the amount of money that i was earning um it's i i am very happy with how much i am being paid i feel i am probably paid too well i mean no i'm send me more money absolutely paid us more paychecks more just to be clear yes um but in terms of of like my quality of life i'm very big on i've got a roof over my head i can pay my bills i can put food on the table anything else above that is extra and i have a lot of extra as you can tell by all the lego that i have so so that's what i tend to spend my money on would you say that this type of job generally in our industry pays well because sometimes it's like uh i'll see like someone that's at like one of the big five tech companies and it's like well yeah but they work there and so they do better there is this like across the board this is like a pretty decent paying role yeah so i think my role my role is an interesting one i don't i've seen it in a couple of other places but it's more kind of tied to consulting as well so you see consultants doing this kind of work as well and i think consultants who are doing that teaching aspect they are still paid even if they're not coming from one of the big five they are still paid very well for their industry and they are still pay i have not loud bank it wasn't me for once so this is great it was probably my cat knocking something over it's fine um but yeah no i think that they are paid really really well um just because i think it comes down to that you have to learn very very quickly you have to adapt change very very quickly you have to learn on the job as well so like dealing with new customers very very quickly um adapting to changing environments of jumping from one customer to another customer to another so i can kind of see why the role does have that benefit cool no that's awesome because i i feel that some of us have been really surprised by the answers on which different roles pay more or less and all of us want to be security architects by now just so you know apparently they just roll around in money they're like oh the paper cuts there's just all these hundred dollar bills that would be nice that would be nice what a lie are there a lot of opportunities in your field like if someone wants to get in it do you think it'll be really hard to find a job or do you think like with the right experience there are lots of opportunities in security at the moment i don't think there's a problem it's just a matter of whether you have the right level of experience for what people are looking for so i think people are looking for experience at the moment they are looking not necessarily for for green engineers so people who are are very fresh and very new but for people who are saying maybe one or two years in i think there's plenty of opportunities we have such a shortage of skilled security engineers at the moment that everyone is clamoring for them i know that where we were hiring just recently we hired i think two three new people at least just into my team so it's it's one of those positions yeah everyone wants to become an architect so they all bugger off become architects so we're trying to find more engineers to take the place of the people who become architects oh my gosh that's funny wait how how could someone like try to get experience so that then they could qualify for a job like this i know that this is the chicken and the egg question but a little i think doing that that um if you're in operations or working in like a help desk role or even in a dev role and you're starting to look at security as something that is of interest to you um of trying to either speak to your security or governance team and helping out in ways that you can or finding things that you can be doing um looking at doing i i hate saying it but looking at doing certifications because they always look nice when you're looking at a resume and they're one of those extra check boxes um so things like cissp and um uh from a microsoft perspective i've got the az500 so the azure security engineer um there are some new ones that we've come out with so um sock analysts and identity engineers identity security engineers so those kind of um exams may play into it as well if you're looking at that base level trying to jump in so things like that can be of of use cool aren't there a lot of kind of like free resources on um microsoft learn maybe or microsoft learn has a ton so for all of those exams that we've got there's a whole range of like paths that are free learning resources for you to use in order to be able to get skilled up so you don't have to go and pay thousands of dollars to go and set a course you can learn yourself we like this we like this cool very cool okay so i have super tough questions now they're very serious and tough jess what do you like best about your job i like dealing it's this one for me is not tough so i've actually had to sit and think about this a little bit as to whether i'm in the right position and i am i love dealing with customers either on a one to one or a one to a few and getting that click moment i like seeing a customer understand um a solution or an idea or a tool and go i finally get it i understand what i need to do or have that moment of this is amazing i know how i can use this in my environment or in my infrastructure that's what i love oh that was an easy answer okay so second follow up way tougher question what do you like the least i'm always surprised i'm always sorry so this one for me i it's kind of good now because i don't have a least favorite now but pre-covered for me was travel so i was traveling up to 50 of a month and i have a young daughter so my daughter is three and a half and so traveling and being away from her for me was really really hard so the silver lining of kovit for me is meant that i have i've been home and working from home for the last 18 months so i've been here the entire time and it's been amazing yes oh my gosh i love that too so many things have changed like i know that obviously people dying and being sick is really awful and it's hard either of us are understating that but yeah i have i have really enjoyed not traveling and just like staying at home and spending time with people i love and i'm really hoping that this is going to shift that mindset of you have to have a bum on a seat to prove that they are doing a job like we can work remotely and i don't feel that the customers that i've worked with have lost out at all having me remotely in fact i think it's probably been beneficial for them because i work probably longer hours because i'm at home i don't have a commute i can start at like 8 30 in the morning to look at all my emails so i can start bang with them at 9 or 9 30 and i can keep going through till 7 o'clock at night like it's not a problem because i'm not having that commute so i'm hoping that going forward that there will be less of a push for us to have to travel on site and do more of these remote type engagements and and calls rather than having to to go on site yeah yeah that is definitely a plan that i have going forward to just travel for the super special occasions and the rest of the time do things remotely and also then the costs are lower right like oh my god yes expense to i remember my travel budget um at a previous place that i worked that will remain unnamed um and it i was just it was astronomical i was like oh my gosh i can't believe you wasted this much money you're like putting me on an airplane when i could have just called or do you know what i mean i'm just like is it and that's it wasn't me paying it so i'm like okay and that's and that's that's my feeling as well like it is such a waste of money to have me go that when i can do it just as easily from here and i'm more comfortable which means you're going to get a better experience from me delivering it rather than me living out of a suitcase which i hate well and also on top of that think about all of the time that you're traveling and then you can't get work done right so if you travel across the continent like that's a day there and a day back totally shot plus potentially a morning of like a um which we'll call it uh like the time zone jet lag yeah and so you end up wasting like all those tons of time and a lot of money and it's like you know i could have just like sent you a zoom or a teams link and like we could have been up in five minutes exactly exactly yeah and particularly for some of those short ones as well like you travel for a day for a meeting that's going to be an hour it's like why did i fly yeah two hours for a meeting that's only for like an hour or two hours and then fly like you waste an entire day on one meeting yeah yeah and like i don't know how to explain but sometimes like is it really worth sending me like couldn't you do better stuff with me i am like a resource that kid had do other stuff uh just saying yeah okay i get you i i actually saw um one tech company post that 30 of their devs quit over coming back to work and they're like we don't need them and i was like wow your attitude is really awesome i bet that they quit for a bunch of reasons and not just that bet you've got lots of people clamoring to come back yeah yeah especially with i i don't know i would be really sad if my employees left but we've always been remote first that we have purple so that's not an issue um but that's awesome yeah well it's great because then i can have the best i mean like we only hire within canada because like there's like laws and stuff but um it's cool nobody it's cool to be able to hire someone from 5 000 like one of our employees lives 5 000 kilometers away and it's cool yeah um we just don't have meetings with her like past a certain time and that's fine but okay i have no questions for you so sorry so what so i so this is like different than what you like best so what gives you the most pride about the work that you do uh pride i'm i've got to admit i'm i'm getting into microsoft was probably one of my big like goals like it's something that i wanted to do so for me knowing that i work for microsoft and knowing that they are looking after me so i've been very very lucky my manager is phenomenal um in looking after me and particularly through covert and keeping tabs making sure your mental health's been good that to me i think is what gives me the most amount of pride and i know that there are people who might not have that experience everyone's very very different but for me i've been very lucky that my entire management chain has been incredibly supportive and that's what gives me pride so i've i've felt uh very very lucky to be where i am um during the pandemic very lucky it yeah and it must feel awesome to be part of a team that like i feel if the manager is checking in on you it's because they really value you right like they learn how you are and like you're part of a team where they're like she matters yeah so my like my yeah my one-on-ones with my manager have been things like i'll we'll start the the one-on-one and he'll be like and how are things going and i'll start talking like about my work and my customers and my utilization he's like no no no how are you going how are you feeling and that to me is what makes working somewhere really good if you've got a manager who actually cares about you it it makes such a difference yeah that's nice that's really good yeah and um and also i i have heard that they have lots of really awesome benefits as well to like try to support their employees and make sure they're healthy and good like yes so lots of benefits in terms of we got wellness days this year which has been amazing um they encourage you to sort of stay well from a mental health perspective and staying fit um so there is there's a lot of of push to make sure that the people are okay i think that's awesome and i i wish that more corporations were like that because like to me your employees are your best resource like if we lose an employee at we have purple there's not very many of us right it's just like it hits really hard but if even when i've been at a bigger company like when someone leaves it's like oh but we need you um and so if you like do all those things to keep them healthy keep them happy like check in with them make sure they're okay like i wish all organizations did this i think it's really great and it means that you retain people people actually have that vested interest in wanting to hang around yeah yeah i've heard the expression you don't quit a job you quit managers a grade 100 agree and like you'll stay for a wonderful manager too like you'll want to keep like i i twice have had a manager leave and then bring me with them because like oh that's lovely it's like such a good match right like i remember one of them like so i went back to school and then when i graduated he's like so so when when you're coming over when you're coming over and i was like okay like and the other one just kept checking in with me for like two years until i was like okay well you're right i didn't really like switching from.net over to sap [Music] so that was a foolish time in my life um and then he was like come back and like come over and i was like oh yeah i'll be right there it's it's a good feeling definitely and i do feel like managers definitely do play a role in that but i also think so for me when i've changed roles so i've only changed roles i've changed roles a couple of times it's either been from a manager perspective or from hitting a ceiling there is nowhere further for me to go nowhere further for me to grow nowhere further for me to learn and when you hit that and there's nowhere else for you to get like you have to leave like there is nowhere else to go so i've hit that in a couple of places now where it's like you can't offer me any better role you can't offer me any better pay you can't offer me any better learning experiences that i'm out yeah that is actually why i left the canadian government i was in the highest technical role for a decade and at the eight year wow they don't give you any more raises yeah you get no raises for the rest of your life that's insane and that's insane so i'd hit the top level of where i was at public service here in australia um i was in state government and i'd been at the top of my band for four years and they'd been promising me another position and another position they'd never come and i'm like peace out i'm gone yeah yeah i tried management and was like it was so awful i re and i tried it three times just to see if like maybe it was that one i was like oh i'll try super right i was just yeah so then i was like okay so i have to leave now and then um so i i have okay so i have more questions of course um so so let's say someone's like so they love security they're super interested and they want to try to get into a similar role to this what actionable advice could you give them like a thing that they could go and do after listening to this podcast so um particularly for people who are based for me in australia um i highly recommend going and taking a look at a lot of the talks that have just been published by ozert so i recently attended the ozert um 2021 conference and there were a whole range of speakers there speaking on all sorts of different security be it app security operational security governance policy whatever so going off and taking a look at the videos there because that'll at least give you an idea maybe of where you want to go in that journey i also think taking a look at a lot of the microsoft learn content is going to be fantastic so when you're looking at what kind of a path you want to take at least having a dabble in some of those microsoft learn courses to see if there's a particular exam you might want to sit or if there is a specific um uh job title you're aiming for you can kind of see what experience and what skills you need in order to be able to do that cool cool i i like this um and i love free resources because i like to learn stuff too even uh even if i might not work somewhere anymore i still kind of like to keep my chops sharp so that's cool um and the learn content like it is i know a number of people who work in the learn team and the stuff that they are putting in there is amazing and they are constantly updating because they they want people to learn that that's the one thing that i love about people in the learning team they really want people to learn probably why i get along with them so well well i feel like if you're going to be in a job where knowledge sharing is the main component of your job if you don't love learning and you don't love sharing knowledge it's going to be like i have to take you know like those people where they're like i have to repeat myself this is the end of the world i'm like no then i'm going to repeat myself in a new way because the way that i said it the first time didn't get across i'll explain in a brand new way right like yeah and i'm big on knowledge sharing because i don't think i think harboring knowledge and keeping knowledge to yourself is just a way to make yourself a martyr and mean that you never get holidays you never get weekends off you never get to leave so sharing information with as many people as possible our i feel that our jobs uh and our mission is to almost automate ourselves out of jobs we we're trying to get to a point where we can get people to do the things that we're telling them to do and get the systems to do the things that we're asking them to do without us needing to be involved i want to be able to sit here with a drink and watch things just work yes so people who are listening who can't see jess was on the opening keynote panel with james young and tony kidzelman and casey ellis at the oscert2021 and we have the link here and we're going to put the link also in the show notes so if you're listening and you're like i want to check jess out she not only spoke there she was on another panel and she gave her own talk so you definitely want to go and check out the video so ozcert hasn't put all of them up yet but they have put a whole bunch of them up and i mean it's awesome so you want to go the end you want to go watch yeah exactly this um the speed debate the speed debate at the end of the conference was hilarious absolutely hilarious it was so much fun so i highly recommend checking that one out nice nice so what okay so this is this is like the last serious question so if you were going to give advice to someone so let's say someone you know they message you after this on twitter follow jess on twitter it's at girl girl germs um but let's say they message you and they're like i am so interested in getting a role like yours someday what like trick or trip or advice would you give them soak up as much knowledge as you can about the things that you are passionate about so you may not necessarily be interested in exactly what i'm interested in find what you are passionate about in security and soak up as much knowledge about that as you possibly can because that passion is what shines through when you are interviewing for roles so if it's something that you are passionate about you will you almost light up you almost come alive when you're talking about it and that is what allows someone who is looking to hire you see that this is something that you're going to do well at so that to me is my big one try and find what you're passionate about and focus on that learn as much about that as you possibly can i think that that's probably just general awesome life advice like just as it applies to anything like if you really really love this thing and you're really passionate about learn everything about it that seems just generally brilliant i think i am very very lucky in that um i fulfilled what my parents wanted for me which is find a job you love so that you like getting up of the morning and i am very very lucky that i have that oh that's awesome my parents wanted me to procreate and they are going to wait a long time but anyway [Laughter] i went and did that i went and did that and and don't get me wrong she's lovely i absolutely love it a bit but she is a mini me and she's gonna be a headache until she becomes an adult and moves out like how dare you be just like me oh i was talking i was talking to someone about it this morning i'm like i love that you've got my passion and my drive and my lack of patience and my absolute stubbornness but i wish there was a switch where i could turn it off until you're an adult because right now it's driving me nuts you're like mom i have so much more respect for you yes so if someone wants to get so if someone wants to know more about you if they want to follow you where can they find you do you have a website tell us all the best things i do so um probably the best place to come and find me is on twitter where i ran unless i get locked again i got locked for a day 12 hours there i was bereft i was just cast adrift it was terrible oh i posted a meme in their algorithm this is why ai and machine learning is not going to take over the world because it flagged a meme that i posted and went this is bad and then almost instantaneous said no wait a second this isn't bad but they didn't remove the ban so i was gone for 12 hours it was very disappointing for me um but yes so i'm on twitter as girl germs and you can also find me at girl germs.com so that's my personal website i need to post some more blogs uh when i get the time between wrangling a small human and my job that is a lot you're like wrangling the human and you're trying to type with the other hand i have actually done that being on a call with her beside me hugging me it's yeah it's a lot of fun but kovit has made that more normal now and that's really awesome it has it has and my customers are really really understanding as well like they're used to seeing like the small person just wandering through the door and hi mum i'm home and then disappearing back downstairs or bringing me snacks she likes bringing me snacks when i'm on a call which is hilarious so yes i was doing job interviews for people to join we have purple sort of near the beginning of the pandemic and i was visiting a friend and we're having like a social distance visit but i was like i have this one job interview and so i'm in like one of her bedrooms doing the interview and and then this child comes running in and it's like wow and they're like oh is that your child i'm like it's so not and they're like wait do you want a random child run into your office i'm like it's a long story anyway you seem great for this role that's hilarious yeah yeah so fun times um thank you so much for being on the show you were so great and it i feel like that you gave some really good advice especially learn everything about things you love thank you thank you so much for having me i feel i feel like this is kind of like my like it was made for me like it's we hack purple like purple purple is my color yes yes and if you can't tell in the video she has fantastic hair yes she loves my beautiful beautiful shade of violet it's really really nice and unlike me she actually dyes her whole hair i'm lazy i just do the ends and it yeah all purple it's just easy i've been purple now for seven years so yeah it's been a while we have a comment in the chat that children are incredible chaos engineers yes they are 100 they teach you everything you need to know about chaos and if you are ocd and i am actually clinically diagnosed as ocd and need to have control of things they teach you very very quickly that you do not have control oh my gosh that's hilarious oh well thank you again it's time to say goodbye it feels like it's been 10 minutes not 55. yeah that went very very fast this has been fantastic thank you so much for having me thank you for coming on the show and we'll see you next time on we hack thank you podcast thank you for coming to the wehack purple podcast where this week we interviewed jess dodson and that was such an awesome conversation and you should definitely follow her on twitter i know i do it's at girl germs all one word this week was sponsored by 10 security the awesome guys that created defect dojo and that's right we are still we have purple the academy the community and the podcast thank you so much for tuning in thank you for having a great time with me and jess and we'll see you next week [Music] [Music]