Vikram Phatak

Vikram Phatak


NSS Labs

Austin, TX USA

Honor your own rhythm...everybody got started somewhere.


By Roadtrip Nation

Vikram Phatak


My road in life took a while to figure out.
His dad was a professor, and one night, while Vikram was playing with his computer, he overloaded the memory and broke the machine.
He stayed up all night teaching himself how to fix the computer from scratch so his dad wouldn’t find out, and that was the beginning of his interest in information technology.
When he went to college, he wanted to go into IT, but his dad told him that he didn’t want to become the stereotype of the IT guy who sat in the back of the office and didn’t have friends.
Instead, he studied economics, but he spent all of his free time in the computer lab participating in hacking communities.
While he was trying to break into the world of tech, he had to take some odd jobs to support his family, including washing dishes in the communicable diseases wing of the hospital.
He says that having terrible jobs like that in his rearview mirror motivated him to work as hard as he could at his IT jobs because he never wanted to go back to that life.
Says that his career in cybersecurity was by no means planned—he just followed something that he liked to do, he kept at it, and eventually he found a way to make money doing it.
Now works as CEO of NSS Labs, which, among other things, conducts third-party assessments of network security products to help consumers buy the best software.
Keep following my journey


High School
University of California, Los Angeles
Economics, General
Temple University



I am one of the information security industry's foremost thought leaders on threat protection.

Career Roadmap

My work combines:
My work combines:
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

I am responsible for leading the company’s endeavors to advance transparency and accountability within the cybersecurity industry.

Advice for Getting Started

Here's the first step for high school students

Don't measure yourself in terms of how far you have to go. Take small steps and you will get there eventually. Life is a marathon, not a race.

Recommended Education

My career is not related to what I studied. I'd recommend this path instead:


The Noise I Shed

From Parents:

"You don't want to be the IT guy. He's the weird guy in the back of the room that no one cares about. "

Challenges I Overcame


Interviewed By

Life Hackers

Life Hackers

Cybersecurity careers and pathways