Last updated at Tue, 31 Jan 2023 21:02:25 GMT
Originally planning to pursue a career in sports journalism, Blake Walters joined Rapid7 ready to roll up his sleeves and learn about an entirely new field—cybersecurity. Walters always had an interest in computer engineering. However, he craved the ability to connect with people and build relationships instead of working deep within coding.
Walters is a learner by nature and is not afraid to take on new challenges or face new risks. Living by the mindset, “If I don’t know, I will work to figure it out,” he began his journey as a recruiter in the technology space. This gave him a great opportunity to learn more about how software is built, which eventually led him to Customer Success, where he could build relationships with customers and help others.
Walters had his first personal brush with cybersecurity when a client he was working with, a small hospital, got hit with Wannacry ransomware in 2017. He became even more curious about cybersecurity as he witnessed firsthand the impact it had on his client.
“You know what cybersecurity is and you know people get hacked all the time, but unless you are in it, you don’t realize the ins and outs of what that impact is,” he said. “There were 4-5 weeks where they couldn’t access hospital records, patient information, company files, ANYTHING. That’s a big challenge for a small hospital, or any company.”
From there, the stars aligned, and Walters was approached with an opportunity to join Rapid7. He noted that during his interview there was less emphasis on having a vast amount of cybersecurity knowledge. Instead, the focus was on his ability to build relationships and proactively use the resources provided by Rapid7 to build the industry knowledge needed to be successful in the role.
According to Walters, joining Rapid7 felt like he had finally found a place where he could do what he loved, while being supported in continuing to learn a new industry and grow his career.
“With cybersecurity, it doesn’t matter what you did yesterday. Hackers are changing all the time. If we aren’t also helping our customers evolve and improve their security over time, we are doing them a disservice,” he said. “That’s why Customer Success is so important. It doesn’t matter how good you’ve been in the past, it’s about how good you’re going to be moving forward. That is an exciting and motivating mindset to have.”
One of the biggest misconceptions about cybersecurity is that you need to have specific knowledge to break into the field. According to Walters, that was not his experience.
“Everyone has a day 1. You don't wake up with knowledge of cybersecurity products,” he said. “If you are trying to break into the field, just start reading. There is plenty of information out there. Learn the basics, and then as you're looking at companies and jobs, start tailoring your understanding of what that company does.”
In an environment where things change so rapidly, it is integral to have an open mind and willingness to adapt. In regard to Rapid7 specifically, Walters believes diversity is key to the company’s success.
“Having different types of people and backgrounds in an organization has a huge impact. It keeps you out of groupthink and lets people collaborate for a common good,” he said. “At Rapid7, that stood out to me early in the interview process. Everyone is challenging one another to be better. That's what I was looking for in a company regardless of what industry or business it was.”
Overall, Walters wants others out there thinking about entering the cybersecurity space to know that with some effort, you can make it happen. Even without a technical background.
“Don’t be afraid to push yourself outside your comfort zone. I came into this with no cyber experience. It shows the ability of Rapid7 to take a risk on people who are willing to come in, devote themselves to learning and growth, put in the work, and make an impact,” he said. “It’s not about just finding a job, it’s about finding a home.”
To learn more about opportunities available at Rapid7, visit: careers.rapid7.com