Professional development

Passion is the key to cybersecurity, says Infosec Skills author Kevin Carter

Jeff Peters
February 13, 2020 by
Jeff Peters

Kevin Carter has been fascinated with computers and technology since he was five years old when his dad, a software salesman, introduced him to the popular Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet application. That fascination eventually led to a career in IT and operations, with roles ranging from systems engineer to field services technician to chief technology officer.

Now he’s the CEO of Mesh Networking LLC, a consulting and training firm specializing in areas such as penetration testing, vulnerability assessments, cloud migration and analytics infrastructure. He’s also an Infosec Skills instructor.

“Sharing my enthusiasm with students is important,” said Kevin, who recently released a Network Security Fundamentals Learning Path. “That's how we can become the kinds of infosec officers and engineers we want to be — by having that passion for security and sharing it with others.”

 

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Everyone should be a “hacker”

 

His lifelong passion comes from a natural curiosity about the way technology works, Kevin said, which is at the core of what it means to be a hacker.

“Going back to the original MIT model train club, hacking was not a dirty word or a pejorative word,” Kevin said. “It was a word that meant digging through a complex system, understanding that system, and being able to change it and modify it in interesting ways. That's what hacking is today, particularly ethical hacking. It's trying to learn as much about systems as we can so we can build and protect these intricate networks and technologies.”

Digging into how to secure different systems and sharing that knowledge is one of the best parts of being a cybersecurity professional, Kevin said.

“I get excited talking with people about tools they can use every day to increase the security level of their network — not just theory, but the practice of how an organization approaches information security in each area. It’s very interesting.”

 

Sharing his passion with others

 

When creating the courses for his Network Security Fundamentals Learning Path, Kevin wanted to help up-and-coming IT and security professionals take the next step in their careers.

“I wanted to create the kinds of courses I wish I had available early in my career — the kind of information needed for those just getting started in information security,” Kevin said. 

His learning path contains seven courses and a skill assessment covering a wide range of network security topics, such as:

  • Network models and protocols
  • Best practices for network security
  • Wireless and mobile security concepts
  • Common network security tools
  • Endpoint protection and hardening techniques

“It provides a holistic view of network security in an organization,” Kevin said. “It’s a great resource for people who are new to security or IT managers who are looking for more knowledge about the network security side of things. It’s also a great starting point for someone interested in getting some of those senior-level certifications, such as their CISSP.”

 

A constant state of learning

 

The shift of systems from on-premise to the cloud has changed the entire landscape of information security, Kevin said. And more big changes are already happening.

“As we start to see more advanced technologies like big data, machine learning and quantum computing start to evolve, the landscape will continue to change,” Kevin said. “That means learning about security has to be a constant, never-ending process.”

And that’s why passion and curiosity are such an important part of being a good cybersecurity professional.

He added: “It's all about staying ahead of the curve so you’re not playing catch up to the bad guys.”

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About Kevin Carter

Kevin Carter is the CEO and Founder of Mesh Networking LLC. Kevin has 15 years of experience in the finance and IT industries with an emphasis in IT and operations management. In the past, he has supervised day-to-day IT operations for multiple hedge funds with excess of $1 billion AUM, helping to implement and support IT infrastructure, trade operations, order management systems and market data applications.

From 2010-2016, Kevin was the Chief Technology Officer at Dialectic Capital Management, LP. Before he joined Dialectic, he was a field technician and CSA/SSA Manager at Richard Fleischman & Associates, a hedge fund IT consulting firm. Kevin is currently certified by (ISC)² (CISSP), Microsoft (MCSA, MCITP, MCDST, MCP), SolarWinds (SCP), VMware (VCA-DCV, VCA-Cloud, VCA-WM), Rackspace (CloudU), Bloomberg (BTTC, BESS), and Apple (ACA).

Jeff Peters
Jeff Peters

Jeff Peters is a communications professional with more than a decade of experience creating cybersecurity-related content. As the Director of Content and Brand Marketing at Infosec, he oversees the Infosec Resources website, the Cyber Work Podcast and Cyber Work Hacks series, and a variety of other content aimed at answering security awareness and technical cybersecurity training questions. His focus is on developing materials to help cybersecurity practitioners and leaders improve their skills, level up their careers and build stronger teams.