As pretty much everyone who’s written a line of code in the last five years knows, the keys to passing a technical interview are the candidate’s ability to solve algorithmic brain teasers as efficiently as possible, and to explain their thought process as they do so. With software job postings frequently attracting over a thousand applications, this is the admittedly imperfect method by which companies separate the skilled wheat from the underperforming chaff.
Put simply: to get a good job you need to dedicate hundreds of hours to practicing a skill with very little direct translation to the position to which you’ve applied.
“But how can I practice such a niche skill” you ask? Leetcode.com. Where computer science students’ fanciful dreams of $300k per year unicorn jobs go to die.
In the last month I’ve developed a real problem: All I want to do is work on security related topics.
The day after I wrote my last post I managed to gain root access to my first virtual box on hackthebox.eu. Since then I’ve rooted about a dozen others, listened to half of the Darknet Diaries podcast archive, watched hour after hour of DEFCON and Black Hat talks, and read more about both offensive and defensive security than is even remotely reasonable. Drinking from a firehose, as it were.
As is my Kali VM
I’m hooked, and therein lies the problem: I’m back to not knowing what I don’t know.
A couple of weeks ago I wrote out a plan for myself to follow in the hopes of getting a job. It’s important for me to be able to track my own progress, so in that vein I’ll be posting occasional updates on what I’m working on and how I’m structuring my time and efforts.
The first week went according to plan. The second, sadly, did not.
When I got my acceptance letter to the University of Washington I thought my days of financial stress would end upon graduation. There would be a Saturday where I would sit in a field, listen to speeches, walk across the podium to collect my diploma, and two days later I’d wake up early for my first day of work in a new industry.
Like everyone else, the current job market and world economic conditions were beyond any reasonably conceivable reality I could conjure up. I didn’t even get to sit in the field.
It’s been a busy year. I finished up at Seattle Central College, applied to, and got accepted to the University of Washington’s Bothell campus. I got into their Computer Science and Software Engineering program and have had my nose to the grindstone for the past 7 months. I was elected President of my HOA (long story, still haven’t had to fine anyone), got Audrea into backpacking, went on our honeymoon to New Zealand, and started a company. Busy.
I’ve said Washington was the prettiest place on earth for my whole life. I’ve been wrong.
It’s been a long time since I wrote anything here, but I thought it was important to show the postscript to my WA BDR shenanigans. I wound up raising enough money to repay the Chelan County Sheriff’s Deputy who pulled my bike back up to the road in September of ’17. He pulled my bike out using a come-along strap and his truck, which seemed like way too much work for someone in his position to have to do, so I and a few other contributors (Thank you all!) bought him a winch for his patrol truck. This photo was taken in November of 2017, so I’d like to think it has saved him some effort along the way.
Thanks again, Deputy McLeod. Hopefully we’re close to even, now.