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For this month’s Contractor Spotlight, our Houston Team Manager, Elizabeth Verbeek, sat down with Joshua Sutfin, SOC Analyst at a Fortune 500 energy company.  He comes with a lot of experience –including the military and NASA.  Read on to see how an Airforce Crew Chief became an IT Security Expert.  He also includes some tips and tricks for people thinking about entering this line of work.

Joshua was in the Airforce for approximately 17 ½ years.  He started out as an F-16 Crew Chief (mechanic).  Due to injury, he was retrained (moved) to Airfield Communications where he worked for this department as a mechanic of airfield navigation and guidance systems and radios.  He also started working on Computers in his own time.  He built his first computer in 2001 and it just came naturally to him.

He liked to build them and take them apart and work out how to fix them.  Always enjoying finding abnormalities and then a solution.

Before Joshua was retrained into Airfield Systems he was temporarily placed into an IT position within the Air Force.  He said there were 2 “broken crew chiefs” running the computer shop at that time. 

While Joshua was in the Air Force, he found himself a part time role working tech support at a major consumer electronics store.  This really helped him to apply his knowledge to date and get documented experience in addition to his temporary role in the Air Force.

It was in 2005 when Joshua noticed there was a lot of offshoring of IT going on.  Thinking about it he realized it was the area of IT Security that would be far less likely to get offshored. The seed was sown! 

Once he left the military, he transitioned to working full-time with electronics store before being hired for a contract at NASA, where they were consolidating helpdesks to improve the customer experience.  Joshua found a security position open with Homeland Security, which covered 3 key areas – Data Center, moving a SOC and moving a community of users to new servers.  This role enables Joshua to really get to grips with security and opened up more doors for him.  Lucky for us, this experience brought him to Houston where he started working with a chemical company and then to today, where he is happily working in a contract-to-hire role at CenterPoint.

Joshua’s main advice to people entering this line of work:
• A willingness to learn. 
• Ask lots of questions
• Make sure you get a good all-round IT background
• Be flexible and able to deal with ambiguity

Is there anything he would do differently?
Not really.  With an open mind and always willing to learn, Joshua has worked hard to get to where he is.

Career highlights?
Getting into Information Security without knowing anyone in this field and making a name for himself.  Joshua puts this down to going out of his comfort zone and pushing himself to always learn new skills.

Who was his most inspiring manager?
Joshua’s most inspiring manager was someone who he worked with many years ago who was a strong influence on his life and career choices.  They remain friends today!