Career Notes 1.8.23
Ep 131 | 1.8.23

Teresa Rothaar: Outwork the competition. [Analyst]


Teresa Rothaar: Hi there, my name is Teresa Rothaar and I am a GRC Analyst at Keeper Security.

Teresa Rothaar: I wanted to be a performer and that's one of the reasons why I jump on the chance to do podcasts and webinars and things like that because it gives me a chance to perform. I did plays and I would also write a lot too, uh, a lot of fiction. Um, I wrote fan fiction before it was a thing. I wrote a Doctor Who fanfic when I was, oh, my, probably about 12 years old. I thought I was going to go into the arts as a kid. Um, I wasn't even thinking about, uh, science or computers or anything like that.

Teresa Rothaar: I actually didn't get the opportunity to go to college until later in life. I had family issues that I took care of throughout my twenties, and so I didn't enter university until I was in my 30's and I at first thought I was just going to major in business at that point, but then I started taking some math classes and I hadn't done well in math in high school and I quickly figured out it was because of the way it had been taught to me. In college, I began excelling in it and I ended up getting a bachelor's in, uh, math and computer science.

Teresa Rothaar: I got my bachelor's degree in 2011. We were right in the middle of the Great Recession and I had no professional network to speak of. I had no idea how to get a job, so I kind of hid out in academia. I got an MBA, which really benefited me. I was going to Wilmington University, uh, up here in Delaware, and five more classes I could get a second Master's. So I went and got a second Master's in management information systems. I fell in the cybersecurity really accidentally, a cybersecurity company, a cybersecurity company, actually, a GRC company hit me up on Upwork because they needed somebody to write blogs and white papers and things like that. I didn't even know what GRC was, but I really needed the money. So I took the job and I started furiously Googling and I figured out, oh, governance, risk management and compliance. That was how my cybersecurity career began. I started to excel just like I did when I found the math all those years ago, when I entered university.

Teresa Rothaar: I didn't think there was any money in, in writing, but I was approaching it the wrong way because really to make money as a copywriter, you need to specialize. And once I started specializing in cybersecurity, I got this one client, did a lot of work for him, build a portfolio, then I picked up another client. Then I picked up another one. People started coming to me because I started building a specialty in, in this area. And I also saw I could go into different directions too. I didn't have to stay a copywriter because I was also interested, I still had that hacker personality. I wanted to do more security stuff and so I started, uh, signed up for TryHackMe, and I started, uh, learning how to do security things, how to write simple scripts and Linux and use some tools like Burp Suite, stuff like that.

Teresa Rothaar: I started working at Keeper. They, they started out as a client of mine. Um, I had been a cyber security copywriter at that point for uh, I think about four years or so, and they found me. I don't even know where they found me. I started writing for them, uh, wrote extensively for them for about two years from 2019 through 2021, pretty much every article on Keeper's blog, I wrote it. At the end of 2021, the job market was changing dramatically and I thought, you know, maybe I would like to go and see if I could get a full-time W2 job, cuz it'd be nice to get some benefits.

Teresa Rothaar: Uh, Keeper heard I was looking for a full-time job and I didn't want to just be a copywriter anymore. I wanted to do more. They did not wanna lose me because cyber security copywriters are really difficult to find. And they decided, we could really use you, um, as a compliance analyst and the only caveat we want you to keep, you know, doing copywriting for us too. And I said, sure, you know, that's fine. I'm not against continuing to write copy, I just wanted to do more. 

Teresa Rothaar: There is so much demand, I think, throughout tech, but I could tell you right now in cybersecurity, if you wanna get into cybersecurity and you know how to write, start writing cybersecurity articles. You will never be out of work. You need to be able to translate technical concepts to people who might not be so technical. You need to be able to break that down in the terms they can understand. And usually these days, especially after covid, everything's done in writing. You will never get away from the writing. Not, not completely and it's a fundamental skill. If you can write well, you could always get a job somewhere, and definitely there is a place for you in cybersecurity, there's a great need. 

Teresa Rothaar: I will outwork anybody, and I've, I've always been really good at that, just putting my head and outwork you and work on the problem, and work on on fixing it. And that's how I went from a foreclosure box on the porch to where I am now. I have a good job and, and I have a career and I have a really good career and I absolutely love it.

Teresa Rothaar: I hope that I could help others deal with their adversity because, um, a lot of times I wanted help and I, I didn't have anybody to turn to. I didn't know who to turn to, I would like to be looked back on as somebody who helped others in, in this industry who, who helped, uh, helped diversify this industry. That's something I'm really passionate about and who helped make this industry better and who helped pull people into this industry who maybe didn't see their place here until they heard something I said about it.