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Humans of Detectify: You don't need to be an expert to get into security

April 8, 2021

At Detectify, we’re on a journey to make the Internet more secure with the powerful combination of security automation and top-tier research from the ethical hacker community.

You don't need to be a security expert to have a career in internet security

Having security knowledge is not a prerequisite to join Detectify. If we want to build leading security products, we need diverse teams that contribute perspectives, ideas and solutions from various backgrounds and industries. It’s time get to know some more Humans at Detectify that make this possible. We had a chat with Danwei Tran, Senior Product Designer, and Marcus Sheridan, Team Manager – Mid Market Sales, to learn about their security journeys so far. Let’s go:

How would you describe your entry into the Internet security space?

Danwei: I had a natural entry into the IT world through my family. My dad was a TV and VCR repairman, so instead of playing with dolls, I played with loose components. I often played games about spiders attacking cities made from motherboards and was never intimidated by taking them apart. Later on I was fascinated in making websites and by the idea that anyone in the world could see it. I created a website and a shopping cart to sell small clay figurines I had made myself.

On the other hand, getting into the security space and finding Detectify was purely by chance.

Marcus: Ending up at a vendor in the IT security space was a bit of a fluke or you could say it was a “right time right place” kind of situation.

My eyes were opened to IT security when someone hacked into my bank account and stole from me. My bank’s cavalier attitude and reaction to the theft stood out to me, and as they said, “this happens all the time, insurance would cover it, and to have a nice day.” Seemingly this happened a lot, and they were ill-equipped to stop it. I felt very disconnected from the IT security space, and the skills people here have.

Since then, I have had an enormous amount of respect for people who understand not just the technology behind the scenes but the entire world within which they operate. I’ve sold IT before, and every time I’ve had the opportunity to speak to vendors working with antivirus or email protection and advanced firewall technology, I’m always quick to believe in their value.

Has working in Internet security influenced your perception of this industry?

Danwei: At first, I thought anything with IT security was strict, square, and boring with thick policy books and rules upon rules. Back then I was already subscribed to 2600, and I don’t know why I hadn’t considered that people who work with IT security are the same hackers. In my mind, they were these fascinating people who work “underground.” But Detectify has opened my eyes, and it doesn’t have to be about policies and guidelines; it can be curiosity and passion-driven. The grassroots hacker community can lead the tech and the IT security domain.

Marcus: I no longer see hackers as people in black hoodies watching green text fall vertically on their computer screens. I see them as approachable and intelligent, friendly, and empathetic people with whom I can have a coffee and discuss various topics.

I have a growing sense of the importance of IT security, especially with the world digitizing. It is an increasing sense of respect and importance for the industry and its application to the everyday guy. I was part of our ISO2700 review as a representative from Sales, and we brought our security logic (paranoia) to the process. Documenting our approach may seem tedious, but in actuality, it turned into a valuable experience. Everyone was engaged and passionate, and that is why we did so well.

How does your passion for Internet security influence your work?

Marcus: As a sales organization, we have to be passionate. I am obsessed with finding a use case for potential customers who want to look at Detectify. It means that we have discovered an area of improvement. If we can share our vision on how you are supposed to work with web application security, and they buy into the vision. We are not just getting a customer. We are essentially fixing a (small) part of the internet!

What interests you the most about Internet security?

Marcus: There is a whole industry connected to ethical hacking.

Danwei: I didn’t know Capture-The-Flag (CTF) activities existed. I’m learning about it at a high-school level, but it is fascinating to me. It’s a fun way to learn more about how some attacks are executed and defended against in real-life situations.

What would you say to someone who wants to go into Internet security?

Marcus: I would say, do it! Ask a lot of questions, don’t be scared to be curious. Buy your local hacker a cup of coffee.

Danwei: Try it! You don’t need to be a seasoned hacker to enter the Internet security industry. If you are a curious person, you will find something or some way to contribute; you are welcome as long as you have the interest.


Could you picture yourself working with Danwei or Marcus and other Humans of Detectify? Apply for one of our many open positions on our career page.