Episode 106 – Seize Opportunities, Stretch Yourself and Learn new IT Technologies to Fulfil Your Potential with Eric Vanderburg

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Phil’s guest on today’s show is Eric Vanderburg who is a leader in the cybersecurity field. He is a consultant, author and thought leader who leads the cybersecurity consulting team at TCDI. Eric is also the Vice Chairman of the board of directors for the Technology Ministry Network. This not for profit organization equips those involved in the ministry with technology tools. He is also a part of the advisory boards for several colleges. Eric has earned 40+ technology and security certifications.


(1.09) – So Eric, can you expand on that brief introduction and tell us a little bit more about yourself? Eric goes on to describe himself as a creative guy who worked at a college and created a curriculum for others to teach different programs. In time, he got into consulting, so has ended up working for lots of different companies. Over the years, he has been able to find some really interesting solutions for all kinds of problems.

(1.53) – So, how did you find your way into cybersecurity, in particular? Eric explains that he has always found himself asking – “How could this system be broken or how could someone misuse it?” He became fascinated with trying to work out ways to defend against the ideas that he came up with. Basically, his curiosity led him down his cybersecurity career path.

(2.43) – Phil asks Eric for a unique IT career tip. Eric’s biggest tip is to seize those opportunities that will stretch you. It is important to get outside of your comfort zone. Eric often finds himself working outside of his comfort zone. If he had to wait until he had learned things 100%, he believes he would always be the “laggard at the end.” IT moves so quickly, so you really have to push yourself in order to keep up. If you do not do that, you miss out on many opportunities.

(3.52) – Phil comments that many of us forget to be on the lookout for opportunities, as a result they pass us by. Eric agrees.

(4.03) – Eric can you maybe share with us your worst IT moment and what you learned from that. Eric’s worst experience taught him to keep life in balance. A few years ago, everything was going really well. His business was growing as was his social presence. Yet, he was still able to spend time with his family and help his community. Everything was moving along well, the only problem was he did not have any buffer built in. So, when someone in the family got sick he had no choice but to put other things on the backburner. Fairly quickly, things that were not urgent started to become critical, deadlines were missed. So, he had to hand things over to others. At that point, Eric realized the importance of not maxing out your time. You need to leave a little breathing space so you can cope with change in your life and have some time available to take advantage of great opportunities, when you come across them.

(5.41) – Phil asks Eric to tell the group about his best career moment. Eric starts by stating that – any great achievement requires a lot of work. For example, he is really proud of his first book. Eric had to dig deep to write about storage. A subject he thought he understood, until he started writing about it. At which point, all sorts of questions popped into his mind. Questions that he discovered were not being fully answered. So, he felt compelled to dig a little deeper and provide true answers to those questions. He took the extra steps necessary to do so. This included calling companies up and getting down to the nitty-gritty and solidifying his knowledge. It felt really good when he finished that book. His next two books were a lot easier because he knew the process.

(8.04) – Phil asks Eric what excites him about the future for the IT industry and careers. IT is a part of every element of our lives. All of that needs development, support and security. So, there are plenty of opportunities for IT professionals.The way technology is hooking into and interfacing with real life makes now a particularly interesting time to be involved in the industry.

(9.12) – Are there any directions or technologies that are of particular interest to you? Eric has always been interested in virtual reality. But, now, it is augmented reality and IoT that fascinates him. The potential applications for these technologies are almost endless.

(9.41) – What drew you to a career in IT? Eric says he has always been interested in computers. He used to read the manuals and fix the neighbours computers, so it was natural for him to get involved in IT.

(10.31) – What is the best career advice you have ever received? Eric says that came from his father. He told him that your integrity is everything and that you should never compromise. If you do you may gain something in the short term, but, it will always come back to bite you in the end. This is especially the case now. Everyone is connected, so we are all exposed to an extremely high level of scrutiny.

(11.07) – If you were to begin your IT career again, now, what would you do? Eric says he would not focus on the things he is working on now. Instead, he would probably research the human/computer interaction and the ethics of technology’s impact on us as humans.

(11.46) – Phil asks Eric what objectives he is focusing on in his career, at the moment. Eric says that right now he wants to “empower the next generation.” He is heavily involved in information sharing via social media, blogging and public speaking. Plus, he is giving those that work for him more opportunities to challenge themselves.

(12.25) – What is the one non-technical skill that has helped you the most in your IT career? Eric says it is probably his ability to organize. It has helped him to put the right pieces in place to succeed. He is continually improving his internal processes.

(13.07) – Phil asks Eric to share a final piece of career advice with the audience. Eric encourages everyone to seize opportunities, stretch themselves and always be learning.


(2.54) ERIC – “Seize the opportunities that are going to stretch you as an individual.”

(5.30) PHIL – “So, you’d recommend not maxing out your time? Making sure you got an element of flexibility available for anything that does come up.”

(10.43) ERIC – “Your integrity is everything, never compromise it. Gains that might seem worth it in the short term, will always come back to bite you.”

(11.55) ERIC – “I’m kind of at this stage of my career where I’m trying to empower the next generation.”

(13.15) ERIC – “Everybody can teach you something. S,o be humble enough to learn and be excited about what you do.”


Twitter: https://twitter.com/evanderburg @evanderburg

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/evanderburg/

Website: https://securitythinkingcap.com/

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