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My first 8 weeks in Cybersecurity

  • December 27, 2023

Over the past eight weeks, I've embarked on a journey that feels akin to learning a new language. It's been both challenging and rewarding. Initially, my perception of the AI industry was shaped by movies like "The Terminator" and "The Matrix," where AI is depicted as something frightening. Similarly, my view of the cybersecurity industry was simplistic: they protect us from hackers. However, two months in, I've realized how pop culture has skewed these perceptions.

Let’s take a closer look at these industries after my two-month immersion. My first week at IRIS presented a steep learning curve. I was constantly searching for definitions and trying to understand IRIS's place within the broader AI landscape in cybersecurity. The dynamic nature of this field meant I was always catching up with new terms and developments.

During my first week, I explored our startup’s competitors to understand our market position. This led to an important insight: despite the niche focus of AI in cybersecurity, significant differences exist among companies. At IRIS, we specialize in custom closed-source AI. We allow companies to upload their documentation to train and own their IRIS instance, rather than outsourcing. In contrast, our competitors are service providers who charge hefty fees to answer questionnaires. They rely on less secure large language models or legacy technology that uses question banks. This understanding dismantled my initial misconception that the field solely defends against hackers. It's much more comprehensive, encompassing a range of protective measures against various threats. The industry operates both proactively and reactively, adhering to various regulations and expectations, which eased my fears of an AI takeover... for now.

Reflecting on the various companies in this field and my experiences with them, I pondered why I was initially intimidated. I had assumed one needed to be a “tech bro” or have a background in computer science or business tech. In reality, this industry is accessible to anyone, even an I/O Psych major like me. It requires patience and a willingness to learn. What I particularly enjoy about this industry is that each task offers a chance to venture into new territories. It's not just growing; it's evolving, constantly introducing new concepts and terms. In a way, I'm not just keeping up; I'm moving forward, or at least that's what I like to think.

Looking back at my first few weeks in this industry, I've learned a critical lesson: the art of being wrong and the importance of relearning. It's been a humbling experience. In a field as fluid as AI and cybersecurity, your ideas and knowledge are constantly put to the test. It's less about having all the answers and more about remaining open and adaptable. This journey isn't just technical; it's a personal evolution in how I perceive technology and its impact.

Would I suggest others dive into this field? Definitely. But come prepared to have your views challenged and reshaped. It's not just about gaining skills; it’s about cultivating a mindset that is flexible and innovative.

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