Alex's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Cybersecurity

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Redmond, WA

ALEX HARMON

Senior Security Analyst
Microsoft

“Have a keen interest: keep practicing as much as you can, as much as is reasonable.”

INTERESTS:

Business Technology

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Determination Exploration Experience Transitions Risk Self-Reflection Culture Hobbies & Pastimes Struggle Character Community Planning Education

FOUNDATION:

Problem-Solving

TAGS:

balance, change, curiosity, cyber security, engaging, Entertainment, forensics, hacking, happiness, information, interest, necessity, perspective, practice, preparation, problem solving, research, sacrifice, television, tests

BIOGRAPHY:

  • When he was a teenager, he decided that he wanted to work in the field of information security.
  • After his family would go to bed, he’d often stay up late and use IRC servers to talk to people “who were up to no good.”
  • He was fascinated by the idea that hacking could be used to protect or to destroy, but ultimately, decided that the idea of hacking for good was much more appealing to him.
  • He started studying digital forensics, specifically, because he knew it’d help him gather evidence and form criminal cases against the malicious hackers he regularly encountered online.
  • Although he discovered his chosen profession at a young age, there was a downside to his fascination: he fell behind in his schoolwork, and ultimately had to drop out of high school.
  • Because he didn’t have a degree, he felt he had to “force the door open” by proving that companies needed his services; once he did that, he had no problem finding work.
  • His current job requires him to stay on-call at all times, and even though he loves the work, he admits that this can make it difficult for him to maintain a work-life balance.
  • He’s found that practicing mindful meditation helps him keep his work-life balance in check, and he advises others in the world of cybersecurity to dedicate time to their own mental health.

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