How to jumpstart your infosec career

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It would sure make things simple if there was one easy and obvious way to get a job or start a successful business in IT security. But it would also cut off a lot of potential career paths. We spoke to a host of different IT security pros and found that indeed there wasn't just one route to that coveted job.

"There are very few formal paths into security," says Justin Collins, an application security engineer at SurveyMonkey. "Everyone has a different story and oftentimes people just 'fall into' it."

Still, we think folks just starting their careers can benefit from seeing the trails blazed before them. We can't provide every detail about the career paths of the security pros we talked to, but we tried to pick out individual anecdotes or details that illuminate how a career can be built.

Tales of teen hacking

Michiel Prins cofounded his security company HackerOne for a very good reason: his parents told him to. "My best friend/cofounder Jobert Abma and I began learning to program together at 11 years old," he says. "We discovered quickly that it was easy to make programming mistakes that could have a security impact. This made us think that other developers could be making those mistakes too, and we were right."

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