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DaNeil C
DaNeil C

Posted on • Updated on

Nevertheless, I Hacked

TLDR: Growing up I never wanted to work with computers. I liked computers, but I wanted nothing to do with them... and yet here I am spending every day on a computer learning to ethically hack things and build applications.

The beginning

Growing up I was really interested in computers. I was lucky in that my dad had a small computer business in Alaska so there was always computers around me. I don't remember a time when there wasn't at least 5 computers in the house.
As technology changed and grew and my dad had to replace parts for his clients he would give me the dead parts and I loved ripping them apart and seeing what was inside. I really wanted to know how it all worked, but my dad never really took the time to tell me. Sure, he gave me bits here and there that I remember about the spinning disks and its reader heads but I don't recall anything beyond that.
As I got older I remember losing interest as none of my friends were into computers and I wanted to do the same things they did so computers became just a tool.

The kick off

It wasn't until middle school that I used a computer class to get out of taking gym. Though I originally wanted to take Japanese, Web Design was the class I ended up taking and it was taught by the female librarian at my soon to be high school. She was amazing. She was so chill and smart that I started caring about computers again and learning more about web design and started taking QBasic and an A+ Cert class at my high school.


I got sidetracked as I wanted to learn Japanese and travel the world with it so computers took a side seat to that. But when I was in my first year of college studying International Studies/Japanese I worked in the computer lab. I wasn't amazing and I think my bosses hated me BUT I took the interest back in computers and spent my free time fixing friends computers and making silly websites for myself.

The pivot

I changed degrees and schools and went down the path of learning web design from a small school in Idaho. It was good and I learned a lot but I always felt like I wasn't going to be good. I didn't have the design eye and I just wanted to make things for people that had that eye. I got an work study and a project site and it was obvious that I wasn't good at this. I took to long to make things and it was never want the client had envisioned.
I started looking into my options. I didn't want to take computer science and it was more math than I cared for and I didn't want to be a computer programmer like that but I still wanted something Internet focust.
This is where I learned about cybersecurity.

Yet another pivot

Time to move. I changed degrees again and moved to Seattle to try and get into UW's Informatics program. I got into all 3 UWs but not one of their Informatics programs...
Time for plan-E... getting my BA in Information Systems from a college here.

After getting my BA

I was still lacking after getting my BA. I saw it as this end all thing but it was really lacking so much that I was unable to get a job. After about half a year of trying to even get an interview I decided I needed to do something and started looking at Coding bootcamps in the Seattle area.

Bootcamp time

This was a rough time for me. The roughest yet. Rougher than when my dad left in high school. This was rough because for 1 there are a lot of bootcamp options in Seattle. Do I do remote? Do I compute? What is the reputation and outcome of these bootcamps? Do they offer any time of support?
So many questions but I settled on the Flatiron School.

The mixup

During my 2 months before Flatiron... my bf of 6 years broke up with me. I caught him "talking" with hookers (or so he says he was only talking) and he broke up with me when I called him out on it. At this point panic sets in. I am supposed to start a bootcamp but am I going to move in with friends over an hour away or move to a different state with my mom and commute to campus there??????
My ex was nice and moved into an different part of the house so I could finish the bootcamp and keep my cats with me.
But things got... tricky... he changed his mind and wanted me back.. but I had moved on and was talking to someone new. I had to move in the middle of my bootcamp.

The new path

I met J by chance the day after my ex had officially broke up with me. J is a security engineer/pentester and our interests aligned. It felt like fate and he lit a fire in my to get into security, once I was done with the bootcamp. I saw a path. It's a jenkey path with a lot of issues but there is a light head.


Now I spend my days doing Pentesting Labs and trying to get a bug bounty. I really enjoy that J and I share this passion as he can help and he enjoys teaching me things. As a 10+ year sec engineer he has a lot of knowledge and we get to do CTFs together.

The wrap up.

I never wanted to be doing anything with computers growing up... but here I am hacking things and loving it and having a partner that loves it too.
I never felt like I computers could be a job but I am giving it a solid go.

Happy Hacking

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