[Article]-DIY Career in Ethical Hacking: The R-Rated Version

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    • #3470
      Don Donzal

      A slightly saltier version of the original. Not all will find it improved, but it’s definitley new.  8)

      Permanent link: [Article]-DIY Career in Ethical Hacking: The R-Rated Version


      The first time I gave this speech was at the SANS WhatWorks in Pen Testing Summit in 2008. Although the content was what I wanted to cover, I did tone it down it bit for the audience. I had a strong desire to do the talk again in the future, but had no intention on presenting at my own event, ChicagoCon. I must admit, that it didn’t take too much arm twisting from some of the other EH-Netters to get me back to the podium.

      So last fall at ChicagoCon 2008f (yes… that’s what the ‘f’ is for), I took the advice and went for it. Not only is this version slightly longer, the stories I tell are not all the same & the free resources section is much longer, but also the audience was different allowing me to less loose. As I state in the speech itself, it’s actually in the script for me to drop the ‘F’ Bomb… and I don’t mean ‘f’all. So if you really enjoyed the first one, then I’m excited to be able to share with you this new edition. If you’re of the Disney crowd, the please refer to the last one. I still think it’s worthwhile.

      Enjoy and as always, give me yur brutally honest opinions,

    • #22704



    • #22705

      nice – I found the first one very inspirational – I’m looking forward to hearing this one

    • #22706

      Cheers Don, looking forward to getting the time to listen to this, enjoyed the last version.

      (Given the recent issues, not sure I want download the .pdf slides though…. :D)

    • #22707
      Don Donzal

      Thanks NickFnord for the compliment. Let me know what you think of the Grandfather story in this one.

      RoleReversal – As for the pdf, don’t worry… you can trust me!  :-*


    • #22708
      Artful Dodger

      I enjoyed listening to this.  I listened while I was in traffic.  I really enjoy MP3s of this stuff to listen to while driving.  If only all of the study guides were like this.  I liked the stories and the idea of @%$it, just get out there and do it.  But my favorite part of the presentation is that you are not looking at is as a “punching the clock” JOB.  You seem to look at it as a grass roots way of life that you can happen to make money in.  so many folks base these conversations on how to wait for the right job, line youself up for the right position and all of the other variables that you may not have control over.  You seem to emphisise making it happen then letting those pieces fall together.

      My grandfather also had a life changing affect on me.  He said “if you cant buy it, you cant afford it” damn he was ahead of his time:) And he said “just do what you love and I am sure you will make money at some point.  Unless you are horrible, then just do something you are OK at but dont suck at.”

    • #22709

      thats some good advice right there!

    • #22710

      Thanks, Don. That was brilliant, and very helpful to a newbie like myself 🙂

    • #22711

      Nicely done!  Burned it on a CD and played it on my way to work in the car.  Kept me interested through the whole thing.
      This is a CD I will give to people if they ever have a situation that they need to ‘re-evaluate’ what they currently are doing.  If it just benifits one more person, it was worth it!

    • #22712

      I found the presentation very enlightening. I’ve heard people talk about some of the career/goals aspects before but the hacker spin made it hit much closer to home. I am definitely making some changes to my career plan. Thanks!

    • #22713

      Finally had the chance to listen to this version tonight. As always, very well said, Don 🙂 Quite inspirational and really helps put things into a good perspective.



    • #22714

      I’ve only managed to squeeze in about half of the revised one so far, but it really is a very good talk.

    • #22715

      That was a good talk, i even took a quote from it and stuck in on a post-it.  “what do I have to do, so I can do what I want to do?”

      Thanks for sharing it with the world.

    • #22716

      Don, you really have an ability to persuade someone with your stories. I was really touched by the one in previous speech about your son.
      In this speech, you talked about your grandfather, it was moving as well. Shows your devotion and how much you care about people around you.

      I think I was the right audience for your speech. Comparing it to the previous one,  the only thing that was different and really techy was last 25 mins. Which i played over several times…

      I was wondering if you could upload the ISO image of the DVD you distributed at the con. or maybe just list the tools, that’s good enough.

      Great Job , and thanks for the motivation!

    • #22717

      Thanks Don!

      I normally shudder at the idea of motivational talks but this was excellent. I’m just now trying to start my career in this area and you have given me a lot to think about.

    • #22718
      Don Donzal

      Your kind words are greatly appreciated. If you don’t mind me asking a favor in return, please help spread the word by digging:



    • #22719


      I know this is a thread is a little old, but I just downloaded and listened.

      Great presentation – really heartfelt too.  It’s awesome to be able to access high quality resources like this for free.

      Thanks for the hard work,

    • #22720

      Just listened to the mp3, while going through the slides at the the same time.

      It was really good.

      Silly question, is the DVD you had there available anywhere, or at least a full list of everything on it? I know some of the stuff has changed since then.

    • #22721

      This will help me, i am in high school, and i am gonna be stepping into real world soon(few months).

      I am interested in ethical hacking pentesting career.

    • #22722

      @pizza1337 wrote:

      This will help me, i am in high school, and i am gonna be stepping into real world soon(few months).

      I am interested in ethical hacking pentesting career.

      Absolutely will help you.  Don did a great job on this, and I’d personally sort of forgotten about it, for a while, so it’s nice to see posts on it, again, to push me to re-watch it and remember what he covered.  Again, don, thanks for the site, for the value in what you provide and share, and for the professional ‘networking’ you’ve created here.

    • #22723

      Well Don, I listened to the mp3 in my car this evening, and I think it’s a big thumbs up (if it’s appropriate for me to say that, being a newbie and all)

      What I noticed most is that you’re quite a natural speaker, which greatly helps to get the message across.
      Practical advice (like networking, but even more practical like, for example, the tip about a 6 months cash reserve), and the personal touch (concerning your grandfather), made that point even stronger.

      Definitely to be recommended for everyone in a similar position as myself, at the (hopefully) start of a career in security.

      Thanks for the effort, I’ll be sure to keep this one on my hd.


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