I’m always looking for a better way to do things. I’ve spent hours, days, weeks, months trying to learn how to do things the most effective way possible. This often means deluding myself that there’s a way around hard work. That’s part of the impetus of this blog. It is here until I stop paying for the hosting. Staring at me. Every time I see it, I see the goal that I set for myself, *write more*. There’s not an easy way around this, there’s no shortcut key or macro, I have to do the work.

The hardest part is starting. When I’m trying to do something I’ve never done before, I can, and have, gotten lost. I’ve never written a blog, or done much writing since the 8th grade. So I look for shortcuts. For optimizations, for fun things that help me pretend that I am moving forward. But there aren’t any. The best advice about writing is, “write more”.

I had never started a new career, but I had had a few different jobs that could have become careers. Five years ago I rejected them and moved in a new direction. I was working in a job that I had gotten because I had “Photoshop Skills” on my resume, and my interviewers all were impressed with my communication. I told them in plain language what I had been doing, how I felt I had progressed with it, and what I could and could not do. The job combined a lot of project planning and implementation, and some prepress work. This is a fancy word that describes altering someone else’s artwork to get it to print the way they like or expect. For awhile this was fun.

When I found myself spending all my free time installing Ubuntu or FreeBSD, my reading was blogs or books about shell scripting or programming, then I felt it was time to move. I looked back at what held my attention consistently since high school. “Computers” was the simple answer, but I had a job with “computers”. On that front I couldn’t be happier. I spent every week day in a nice office, with free coffee, working on a brand new *Mac*. High School and College me couldn’t be happier. Future me was upset though. Future me didn’t want this. So I researched. I spent days and months searching the internet to learn where I could go with this. Network Engineer, Network Admin, HelpDesk, IT Support, SysAdmin, Operations Engineer, I applied to them all.

There were no shortcuts here. I knew I wanted to be an IT professional. I knew it would take years to get the understanding and experience I needed for this to be a career. I had success. Not immediately, and it took hard work. I had a job that I didn’t like, and it did not prepare me, so I studied, I practiced, I worked hard to get a job as “IT Support”. Matching the adage that titles mean nothing, this job was amazing. It was hard work every day. I had to learn EVERYTHING. Active Directory, IIS, SQL Server, Apache, DNS, cable routing, hardware installation, troubleshooting, user support, business continuity, everything was new. I had arrived. I was an IT professional, a sysadmin to be specific. And it was still not enough.

Now all my down time I was learning about Information Security. I had learned that this was a thing during my previous job search, and maintained a few contacts, attended a local user group. This taught me to have a new dream. Information security was sysadmin++. You have to know systems, networks, software, people, businesses, and all their interactions. This became my goal. This continues to be my goal. I’m at a different job now, with a title that has “application security” in it, but I know how little I know, and how quickly the space is changing.

Hard work continues. I am an information Security professional. I know what the security concerns are of our product. I work hard to keep learning. I work hard to get better. Sometimes I forget that effort is the most effective way to do something. Sometimes I keep hoping there’s a quick blog post I can read that will unlock the next door. There isn’t. There are distractions. There are obstacles. Sometimes they might help, but they’ll never move me forward the same way hard work will.