Love for learning led to a new career shaping cybersecurity

~ 3min read

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~ 3min read

By Devin Jones (CompTIA CySA+). Devin is mthree's cybersecurity content author. He went from fighting wildfires to fighting cyberthreats, with 15 years’ experience in cybersecurity and teaching in prison. In this blog, he reveals what motivates him to shape the future workforce of cybersecurity professionals.

"My personal career journey began with fighting wildfires. I have a calling to teach and a passion for protection. It’s essential for me to be continuously learning and using that knowledge to shield individuals and institutions from looming digital threats." Read my story…

Like many, I too once wrestled with the thought of cementing my feet into one career path for life. Starting with a degree in Social Studies Secondary Education, my journey was nothing short of unpredictable. Each experience, be it battling forest fires in Yellowstone or teaching within the grim walls of a maximum-security prison, has imprinted invaluable lessons upon me. But if there's one thread that's been a constant, it's been my unwavering commitment to continuous learning.

My initial calling was in the realm of education. Post-college, the wild terrains of Yellowstone beckoned, where I faced both nature's fury and its magnificent beauty. Yet, Indiana soon called me back, and I found myself fulfilling my educational aspirations by reigniting hope in at-risk youth who had left school prematurely. My desire to make a difference stretched further as I devoted over a decade to incarcerated individuals, empowering them to secure GEDs and even college courses, all within the confines of their prison cells.

Throughout these diverse experiences, the flame of continuous learning never dimmed. It was my compass, guiding me even when I felt the inner tug towards change. While teaching had been a profound chapter, nurturing my soul and honing my skills, another horizon beckoned: the dynamic world of cybersecurity.

Navigating my transition to a career in cyber security wasn't straightforward, especially with the added responsibility of caring for young toddler triplets. Balancing parental duties with attending courses, participating in conferences, and networking with industry magnates was a monumental task. Nevertheless, each challenge only intensified my passion for knowledge. Today, as a cyber security professional, I stand at the intersection of my deep-rooted love for learning and my mission to protect. The foundational skills of clear communication and leadership that I honed during my teaching years are now echoing profoundly in the digital realm.

The cyber landscape is ceaselessly evolving, demanding professionals to stay abreast with the latest. Every day unfurls a novel challenge, a new learning opportunity, making it a perfect playground for someone like me, with a penchant for continuous growth. And it’s not just about acquiring knowledge; it's about using that knowledge to shield individuals and institutions from looming digital threats.

Now, as I reflect upon my journey, from walls of fire in Yellowstone to digital firewalls, I realize it's not about the career shifts but the values and passions we carry forward. Teaching and Cyber Security might seem worlds apart, but for me, they converge at the crossroads of continuous learning and service. It’s a testament to the adaptability of our skills and experiences when underlined by a zest for knowledge.

My message for Cyber Security Awareness Month is this: never let the flame of learning die out. Whether you're safeguarding a national park, enlightening young minds, or fortifying digital realms, let continuous learning be your guiding star. Embrace it and watch as doors you never even imagined swing wide open.

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