Computer Security Career Paths


Advisor: Congratulations, Sam, you’ve earned year degree.

Sam (sniffling): Thanks, but I just don’t know what I’m going to do next.

Advisor (pointing to the poster): The world is your oyster. Just look at these great options.


Cute, but is it a roadmap to success?

Remember Frank Abagnale He was the con artist character played by Leonardo DiCaprio in ‘Catch Me If You Can’. [While made even more exciting for the big screen, the story is a good one and watching it is a pleasant way to spend 141 min.]

Today, Mr. Abagnale is a respected security consultant, and founder and principal of Abagnale & Associates. His life closely resembles ‘Path 2’: years of cons followed by even more years in prisons in multiple countries, eventually climaxing in ‘highly-paid security consultant’.

So, are these parallel and equally reasonable career paths at least theoretically leading to success?

Is the pool of highly-paid security consultants split 50-50 with former con men and criminal hackers on one side, and respectable IT folks on the other? Not even close.

Instead of being the stereotype that proves the reasonableness of Path 2, Mr. Abagnale is the notable exception.

When you look at the cost and the high price he paid (years of jail time), his is still a 1 in a million story. In effect, he won the lottery!

That’s not a ‘career path’, that’s a crap shoot.