Last updated at Wed, 14 Feb 2024 14:00:00 GMT

Prior to becoming a Systems Administrator at Rapid7, Naeem Jones entered his career in cybersecurity through the Hack. Diversity program. Hack.Diversity is a program that connects talented Black and Latin/x students and early-career professionals with organizations that are looking to build inclusive and equitable working environments. Rapid7 is a founding member of “Hack” and has worked with the organization since 2017.

Jones remembers he and others in his cohort were looking for opportunities to grow and gain valuable experience at an organization, prioritizing the expansion of their expertise while also having ownership of tasks and projects. To Jones, one of the things that stood out the most about Rapid7 was the ability to be himself while having the opportunity to grow.

“One of my favorite core values at Rapid7 is ‘Bring You.’ I love having the ability to bring your authentic self every day – and that looks different for everyone. For myself, I am an avid gamer and even play competitively. I am part of multiple groups at Rapid7 where we discuss all the video games and media we love and are able to bond over our shared interests,” he said. Jones enjoys challenging those around him: “If you think you can beat me in a game, I am here, and I accept the challenge!”

Alongside the promise of a robust culture, there was room for Jones to challenge himself to create impact and grow. “Rapid7 emphasized that, once you join, you are part of the team. Even if you are an intern, you are a Moose and will be working alongside others with the same opportunities.” Employees call themselves “Moose” because it can refer to a single moose or an entire herd, demonstrating how every employee is working both individually and collaboratively to implement solutions. This references one of Rapid7’s five core values: “Impact Together.”

“I started by doing whatever I could to understand and take advantage of learning opportunities. A few months into my internship, I was put in charge of handling the onboarding process, which I continued as I came to Rapid7 full-time,” Jones said. “I had ownership of a critical part of the business, which was to be the face of IT and the first person at Rapid7 to give new employees information on their devices and where they can go when they need help or have issues.”

Every role at Rapid7 is integral to delivering for our customers, and Jones’ ability to demonstrate how to efficiently use devices is a great example. The faster our Moose are acclimated to their laptops and are equipped with the tools they need, the faster they can solve the challenges our customers are facing. This means they can more rapidly build products that will keep our customers ahead of attackers and safe in the midst of a complex digital environment.

As Jones has progressed through his career over the course of five years at Rapid7, he has taken advantage of opportunities to shadow those whose roles he has found fascinating. Through open communication with his managers, Jones was able to have a hand in mapping his progression into a Systems Administrator role. This has created opportunities for Jones to impart helpful information and wisdom of his own.

“Mentorship and cross-collaborationship never goes away. Of course, workload takes precedence but there is still so much for me to learn from my peers regardless of whether they are in a more junior or senior role. I have the opportunity now to also pass my knowledge along to others on processes I am well-versed in,” he said.

“I am able to offer wisdom, tips and tricks, and where to look when things aren’t right. I love being able to empower my team – or any partner – to learn from my experiences and be a teacher,” he said. “It is a privilege to be able to show others how I navigate processes to help them learn and to improve and become better. It is a continuous cycle.” This cycle is critical to the impact made at Rapid7 as Moose are able to work together on projects which foster expanded knowledge and fluid collaboration.

For those looking for their next opportunity, Jones acknowledges a difficult obstacle to overcome that many face: imposter syndrome. Although he recognizes that it may never truly go away, Jones suggests how to push through it: “Always try to partner, learn new skills, and shadow people in roles that interest you. No matter if it is a little thing or a big thing, just try,” he said.

Overall, Jones wants others to know that there is power in taking control in the face of adversity. “There have been points in my career where I felt paralyzed by imposter syndrome,” he said. “But, you can’t let that stop you from giving it a shot. Never let those feelings block you from learning and growing. Even if you ‘fail,’ you will still learn something and can carry that experience with you.

Learn more about opportunities available at Rapid7.