Career Notes 9.13.20
Ep 15 | 9.13.20

Brandon Robinson: Built from the ground up. [Sales Engineer]


Brandon Robinson: My name is Brandon Robinson, I am a senior sales engineer for Proofpoint.

Brandon Robinson: I always had a passion for math, so I guess it kind of makes sense how that led to tech. So once I got introduced to tech, which was in a trade school after my first year of college, I loved it. The trade school was really great because I went into college, you know, in 1999 and I didn't know how to create an email address or anything, so they literally built me from the ground up like they taught you. This was like in 2000 so, you know, in 2000 you were everything like you were to network security, network admin. So they taught us essentially all the concepts of networking, how to build a computer. So that's the A+ track. Then they taught us this was in the days of Windows NT 4.0. So then they taught us like how to build that up, how to do the servers and some other like the application aspect of it. It really laid a very, very solid foundation for me.

Brandon Robinson: I am at Proofpoint now, I am a senior sales engineer. I am on the name side, which is you deal with, you know, pretty large corporations and having conversations with CISOs, CIOs talking about their security, architecture, the structure, their vision. You know, in some ways you're a consultant because you have to know more than just your current technology. Right. You have to understand how everything kind of connects and plays together. And then from that, you're advising them on what the best, what the best route forward is. And you're also trying to prove to them that, you know, obviously the Proofpoint, for me, the Proofpoint solution will be a good fit for them. Right. So that's a lot of what I do like presentations, meetings, proof of concepts, working with people that evaluate our technology and, you know, working with existing customers to make sure that they're satisfied with our technology.

Brandon Robinson: One of the things that people should understand is, you know, for me or what I like to say, a lot of times I've been the first. The first to do something. But I've, you know, being the first and a trailblazer, you usually experience a lot of the resistance. So I've experienced extreme racism from people attempting to sabotage me, people attacking my character, saying that I wasn't great at leading, even though I was leading multiple teams, and people who are white, you know, I was doing the work for them and they never held them accountable yet they would call me out while I was doing the counterpart's job. So I think people don't understand how difficult it is and how much, you know, as a black man, you usually internalize because proving that people are treating you and doing things that are race-related to you prior to the George Floyd incident, the burden of proof was so heavy that black people just learned how to adjust within the system. Right. You learn to pick and choose your battles and you really just learn honestly how to rely on yourself, like to be confident, to know you're doing great. And that is what's, you know, made it very easy for me to be successful.

Brandon Robinson: Don't be intimidated. I know starting off, there's so many routes and avenues that you can go inside of tech. The first thing I would say is make sure is really what you want to do. Right. Like a lot of people choose careers because the money's good in that area, but that that should never be a person's drive. Right. First, let it be something that you're passionate about, because when it's something that you're passionate about, you're going to make money because you're going to put more into it then you normally would. Right. So it's something you love, you's do it for free. So I say make sure that you're passionate about it and then give yourself time. I think that we live in an age of instant success and some of that is because social media can be used as highlights. Right. Like everyone showing you their wins, but they're not showing you their struggles, their doubts, the moments they wanted to give up. So I would say be easy on yourself, you know, take your time to grow and build your career. People want to make six figures like starting off in six months. And that's just not realistic. Right? Like you want to build your skillset up to where your skillset demands six figures or more. So that's that's what I would advise.