Stepping into Industry: Week One

The First Week


I thought it would be a good plan to write how my weeks go as I take my first steps in the cyber security industry. After recently being hired as a trainee penetration tester in the UK I feel this may hold some useful information for others individuals who are taking these steps themselves.

I'll be the first to say I was not as prepared as I thought I was, though I have a decent amount of experience through HackTheBox and other like minded platforms while also having a drive to learn. This is a whole new kettle of fish. With platforms like HackTheBox you go into it knowing there is a vulnerability that you have to find in order to complete the challenge.

With real testing, you go into it blind. A blank slate, find what you can in the allotted timeframe, which aren't always easy to deliver.

I'd be lying if I said this first week hasn't been hard, though I only work part time while I continue to study my degree, imposter syndrome hit hard. Even being paired up with someone made me worry as to whether I was doing what I could and whether I was doing it efficiently. As I progressed through the day I felt more like a dead-weight, not because I wasn't helping but because the client felt fairly hardened. There was a number of issues noted but as the day went on they became fewer and further between. In hind site, that's how it should be. You find the bulk near the start and work on more specialised as the day goes on.

At the time though it sent dread through me, constantly pondering what if. To those entering this field after spending time on platforms such as HackTheBox and TryHackMe, be prepared. You'll be doing more research than ever before, ranging from how to effectively use Burp, Nessus and other such tools.
This isn't a walk in the park and is certainly a night and day transition to what I'm used to, but it is a massive mental battle from the start. Nothing is ever easy to begin with and this is no different.

Push on and persevere, you'll eventually break those mental barriers, they may never truly go away but it will certainly get easier to deal with. I hope this was somewhat insightful, I will aim to keep posting updates on this journey as I further my journey into industry.

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