“You don’t have the ability to make sound decisions until you’ve had some experience under your belt.” – Rob Carey, Vice President, Cybersecurity, Cloud and UC Solutions, General Dynamics Information Technology
Some of the questions fresh graduates who want to enter into cybersecurity are: “Where should I start?” and “What’s the best experience I can get?” Rob Carey of General Dynamics Information Technology (GDIT) addresses these questions and gives further insight into what he, and those like him, look for in future cybersecurity professionals.
Rob Carey started in the United States Navy as an undersea weapons systems engineer before he was transferred to the Department Navy’s Chief Information Officer office, where one of his first jobs was to roll out smart cards. He became the CIO himself in 2006, held the post of principal deputy chief information officer from 2010 until his retirement in 2014, and at present is the vice president of Cybersecurity, Cloud and Unified Communications Solutions within the Global Solutions Division of GDIT. As such, he is presently concerned with a wide range of cybersecurity concerns.
Rob remarks that part of his present work involves cloud computing, particularly where cybersecurity affects those using cloud computing. As an example, Rob remarks that, while accessing a commercial cloud computing environment from a government location and then doing what one needs to get done in that environment may sound simple, but the reality is that it is not. In addition, Rob is presently setting up a lab designed to evaluate various cyber tools and determine how well these work in a given environment, allowing GDIT to propose solutions to the government, rather than merely riding on what is already commercially available.
When asked who are the best candidates for his team, Rob looks at a candidate’s experience level. His people are very much in touch with present technologies and know how security operation centers operate. Rob notes that the best person for the job isn’t necessarily the candidate with a Master’s degree in electrical engineering, but could be someone who has a particular approach to solving the problem at hand and who has some technical knowledge of cyber. A candidate having real-world experience is very important to him and his team, as it is those kinds of security professionals who understand how things work in the real world. He notes that he is looking for people who have had experience in security operations centers, as the actual hands-on experience gained from working there is necessary for designing systems, which is a part of what his department handles.
Along with running his department, Rob is presently doing his part in helping the next generation of cybersecurity professionals gain practical experience, as he is sponsoring half a dozen senior students at George Mason University, helping them out with a class project that involves creating a framework to work on a cybersecurity matrix and to evaluate cybersecurity.
At present, GDIT is looking to expand as it changes the way it engages its customers, both in the United States government and in the cyber industry, and Rob notes that being part of the growing team that he’s presently handling would be a great opportunity.
Renee Brown Small is the author of Magnetic Hiring: Your Company’s Secret Weapon to Attracting Top Cyber Security Talent and CEO of Cyber Human Capital, an HR consultancy that specializes in innovative ways companies hire and keep cybersecurity talent. Download a free copy of her book here. Brown Small is contributing editor of the CyberCapital.us blog.