My name is Benji, and I’m a Gopher!
Before becoming a software engineer I was interested in building computers, and had decided on learning to build video games. Myst, Riven, and Age Of Empires were my favorites at the time. I enjoyed solving the puzzles and strategizing on how best to move my armies to crush my opponents. My interest in video games led me to pursue computer science in college.
I quickly learned that the computer science field is vast, and that there are far more interesting topics than building computer games. I found something that challenged me and captured my attention even more than those video games. I found problems; interesting, complex, and intractable problems.
Most people think of problems as something to avoid, I on the other hand see them as opportunities. I found that though I enjoyed the programming and engineering of software my true passion lay in the ability to identify complex problems and solve them. Games quickly fell off as a direction for my career and my pursuit of unsolved problems began.
In 2011, I became interested in developing secure and fault tolerant applications. I discovered a copy of Writing Secure Code by Microsoft Press laying around the office. After reading through the book I began to identify secure coding best practices that I could apply to my existing coding style which would not only make my code more secure, but more fault tolerant. This is when I learned about failing securely and my coding methodologies changed to force habitual secure coding. Since this time I have worked to teach teams and junior engineers the secure coding best practices I learned from that book so as to improve the security and fault tolerance of applications I was involved with.
At the end of 2016 I made the strategic move into cybersecurity. The transition to working as a software engineer in a cybersecurity team was not easy and there were many differences between the two fields, both culturally, and experientially. I learned quickly that the field of security, like software engineering, held a treasure trove of unsolved problems. I quickly began learning about the in’s and out’s of the field and, using my experience in software, built a vulnerability management platform which revolutionized the way that vulnerabilities are managed and tracked at an enterprise level. This allowed the threat and vulnerability management team to minimize their overall staffing requirements while also ensuring that vulnerabilities are patched within pre-defined SLAs. This system not only facilitates the more immediate remediation of vulnerabilities, but also verifies that the patches have been correctly applied and monitors the enterprise infrastructure continuously for new threats.
Alongside solving problems I believe in personal growth. I spend a great deal of time reading. This includes keeping up with new developments in technology or research into areas of computer science where I have interest (such as AI, Security, Distributed Systems) but also in leadership, strategy and business. My current top reads include Competitive Strategy and Competitive Advantage by Michael Porter.
I am also currently working on expanding my knowledge of game theory and chaos theory in an attempt to find methods of combining strategy, game theory and chaos theory for predicting market trends in the fields of information security and artificial intelligence.