Vikram Phatak

Vikram Phatak

CEO


NSS Labs

Austin, TX USA


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

Videos

Videos

By Roadtrip Nation

Vikram Phatak

Highlight
Themes: Hard Work
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05:11
Vikram Phatak HighlightInterview Highlight
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05:12
InterviewThe Interview
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Day In The Life Of A Cybersecurity CEOWeb Exclusive
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Never Been About MoneyWeb Exclusive
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Life AdviceInterview Excerpt
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Be CuriousInterview Excerpt
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Preparation Meets OpportunityInterview Excerpt
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Road BlocksInterview Excerpt
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CybersecurityInterview Excerpt
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Milestones

Milestones

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
Education

Education

highschool
High School
undergrad
Bachelor
University of California, Los Angeles
graduate
Graduate
Economics, General
Temple University
Career

Career

CEO

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

Career Roadmap

Roadmap
My work combines:
My work combines:
Engineering
Engineering
Technology
Technology
Learning / Being Challenged
Learning / Being Challenged

Day to Day

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

Skills & Qualities Beyond School

Always be prepared for the next opportunity and never give up.

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:

undergrad
Bachelor
Information Technology
Hurdles

Hurdles

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. "

Even though I had always been interested in computers and intended to study that in school, I took what my dad said to heart and ended up majoring in economics. This didn't stop me from keeping my passion for computers as a hobby. I was a part of a lot of hacker groups online and spent a lot of time in the computer lab. A lot of how I got to where I am now working in IT is due to luck. I just kept following my interests after college until I figured out a way to make money doing what I love.

Challenges I Overcame

Financial
Financial

I got married young and had no money, so I worked odd jobs trying to make ends meat and work my way up the ladder.