Welcome to Speed Data: Quick Conversations With Cybersecurity Leaders. Like speed dating, our goal is to capture the hearts of CISOs with intriguing, unique insight in a rapid format for security professionals pressed for time.
During the latest episode of Speed Data, Executive in Residence for the Catholic University of America Mark Weber shared his tips for mentoring future cybersecurity professionals. An award-winning sales and technology professional, Mark has taught hundreds of college students over the past eight years, and this week he chatted with host Megan Garza about innovation in the industry, the next wave of security pros, and why there is no secret formula to success.
As the Executive in Residence for the Catholic University of America, Mark helps shape the future of cybersecurity.
“Youth is alive and well and ready to enter the IT space,” he said. Mark’s role finds him teaching twice a week and mentoring his students coming up in the world of technology — a profession he finds extremely rewarding.
“I get to impact the next generation and teach them how wonderful the technology and cybersecurity industry is,” he said. “I’ve taught over 500 students — I get to watch their careers blossom.”
A booming industry
More and more students are flocking toward a career in tech. According to the Education Data Initiative, one in six college graduates earn degrees in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) fields.
This field just continues to innovate every day. Where there’s innovation requires the best people. Obviously, cybersecurity is one of those top fields where there is a massive amount of R&D and innovation, so our students are drawn to that.
With 30-plus years of experience under his belt, you’d think Mark’s students would heed any wisdom he has to offer.
“I give them a lot of advice. Do they take it? We’ll see,” he laughed. “I tell students there is no formula for how to be successful in cybersecurity, how to be a salesperson, or how to be a leader. Success comes in all packages.”
And Mark would know a thing or two about success. He is the recipient of the Institute for Excellence in Sales’ Lifetime Achievement Award.
“You don’t strive for those things; those aren’t trophies you’re looking for when you go into leadership,” he said. “But occasionally, when you get lucky and you get one, you get pretty excited.”
Now, though, Mark’s victories come in a different form — seeing his students succeed post-college.
“It’s pretty fun to watch them race off in different directions, chase different companies,” he said. “So, my trophy now is every time a kid gets a job, every time a kid gets an internship, those are my little trophies of success.”
Passing the baton
Mark looks forward to seeing the next wave of cybersecurity professionals begin their careers, especially his five children, ages 23 – 30.
“Imagine what industry all of them are in,” Mark quipped. “Technology and sales, how about that! I had to get out of the industry to make room for all my kids to enter so they can run things.” But he doesn’t mind giving up the reins.
“I’m excited for them,” Mark said. “A lot of them are working with old buddies of mine, bridging those generations. Almost weekly, I get a picture of a friend of mine at a conference with one of my kids, so that’s pretty fun. They’re mentoring my own kids.”
For Mark, the old adage, “It takes a village to raise a child,” rings true. He said, “It takes a lot of people to mentor everybody, not just one person.”
What you should do now
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- Schedule a demo session with us, where we can show you around, answer your questions, and help you see if Varonis is right for you.
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Megan is the content editor for Varonis and an avid fan of all things AP style. When Megan's not debating whether "cybersecurity" should be one word or two, she loves to travel with her husband and dote unhealthily on their pitbull, Bear.