Charles' Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Cybersecurity

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    Austin, TX

CHARLES HENDERSON

Global Head of X-Force Red
IBM

“The key to a successful career is charting new directions, going in a different way, and doing things differently.”

INTERESTS:

Business Technology

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Determination Passion Education Experience Community

FOUNDATION:

Problem-Solving

TAGS:

challenges, changing, coding, collaboration, dynamic, education, environment, experience, individuality, motivation, negativity, obstacles, perseverance, security, self education, specialization, team, teamwork

BIOGRAPHY:

  • As a kid, most of his friends didn’t have computers, so when his father brought one home one day, he was completely fascinated.
  • At one point, his mom even told him, “You’ll never get anywhere if you just play on that computer all day.”
  • Even when he was in college, he assumed he wouldn’t find a fulfilling career path in tech because everything seemed to be centered around writing code.
  • While he understood how to write code, and respected his classmates who were building new software, he was always much more interested in breaking things.
  • However, he’d never seen a career path for “breakers” until later after college, when someone introduced him to a small company that was doing penetration testing.
  • He felt like he’d finally found his people, his community of fellow “breakers”; even today, he says his team’s mantra is, “If you can build it, we can break it.”
  • Says he’s still drawn to penetration testing all these years later because every day presents a new, interesting challenge.
  • He draws similarities between the field of cybersecurity and the pursuit of career “success”: neither has a finish line where success is achieved because success is an ongoing practice.

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