As previously mentioned, this is the continuation in a series of interviews with both mentees and mentors on their experience with InfoSec Mentors to date. Individuals have had to have been paired up for at least two months and I also chose to keep the participants anonymous as I thought I’d receive more honest answers, both praise and critique of the program. And with that I introduce the first interview with a mentor.....Mentor R:
Q: What was your reasoning for choosing to offer your time and energy in becoming an infosec mentor? Had you ever been a mentor before (officially or unofficially)?
A: I have been both a mentor and mentee in my career so far. I had never taken part in a formal mentoring program before but I had been “taken under someone's wing”. That person helped me a lot in my career so I wanted to give something back to someone else wanting to get into information security.
I unofficially mentor people in my current role and continue to do so, the work I do with my infosecmentors mentee is largely the same as I do with my two unofficial mentees.
Q: Prior to being matched, had you known of your mentee either personally or through social media forums? Did you request your mentee?
A: No, I hadn’t heard of my mentee Q: beforehand and I didn’t request my mentee.
Q: Was gender a concern when envisioning who you’d be paired with? Why or why not?
A: It wasn’t for me, I’ve worked with and been managed by females all through my career so I’ve never seen gender as a problem. I’ve been exposed to the struggles my own mother had through her career as a female in male dominated industries despite her knowledge and achievements.
Q: Has your mentor suggested or encouraged you to engage in social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn)? Have you? Why or why not? If you have, has aided in your original goals?
A: I’m the mentor in this pairing but I suggested my mentee set up a blog which has helped build his profile in the web application security community. I also encouraged my mentee to be more active on Twitter and get involved in “conversations”.
Q: Was your pairing public via social media (i.e. Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) either by you or your mentee? What was the reasoning behind the decision?
A: It was made public, by both of us. We had multiple reasons, we were happy to be paired together. I wanted to spread the message about the infosecmentors program as well. Obviously no one gets to see everything we discuss but we feel making some things public has helped, I know of people who have applied to join the program after reading about our work and pairing.
Q: For the initial meeting/conversation did you have a set idea of what you wanted to communicate regarding the mentor/mentee relationship? What did that initial communication entail?
A: I guess the fact I’m in Ireland and my mentee is in Las Vegas limited our choices when it came to communicating with each other. We have almost exclusively communicated via email, quick/small queries via DM’s and we spent a day together at DEF CON discussing future projects etc.
Q: What is your take on assigning “homework” or tasks to your mentor?
A: I am the mentor in this pairing, but if my mentee wanted to assign me “homework” I’d not be against the idea as long as they respected the fact I sometimes have no time to do this kind of work.
Q: Since your pairing, would you say that you were accurately paired with your mentee? Do you feel that you have the knowledge and skills to guide the mentee towards his/her goals?
A: Yes, definitely. I think we were are a great pairing, I felt this way just from our email conversations but after a lot of one on one discussions in Las Vegas I feel we both think alike and have the same work ethic and attitude towards information security.
Q: Would you say that being a mentor has taken up a significant amount of personal time?
A: No, if anything I sometimes feel like I should be giving more time to this but I just can’t spare much time when work and outside work projects get busy.
Q: If you could re-do any aspect of your interaction with your mentee to date, what would it be and why?
A: Probably spend more one on one time when I was in Las Vegas, given the distance between the pair of us one on one meetings are probably only going to happen once a year.
If you want to be interviewed, please contact me at securityindepth at gmail dot com