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From Indiana Jones to Cybersecurity: The Inspiring Journey of Devin

Illustration of Devin wearing VR goggles playing pickleball

As a young boy, Devin found himself captivated by the adventures of Indiana Jones, the whip-wielding archaeologist from the VHS movies his grandfather showed him. The thrill of unearthing history and the allure of the unknown ignited a spark in Devin, leading him to dream of becoming an archaeologist. However, as he grew older and learned more about the realities of archaeology, he realized that his passion lay elsewhere.

Born and raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland, Devin’s life was deeply rooted along the US Route 301 highway. His parents, both IT project managers, suggested he explore the field of technology. Initially resistant, Devin eventually gave in and embarked on a journey that would shape his career. He shadowed his uncle, who worked in IT, and was fascinated by the server room’s intricate workings. This experience, coupled with his parents’ alma mater, University of Maryland Baltimore County’s (UMBC) renowned IT program, steered him towards a career in technology.

Devin’s first professional experience was with GEICO’s rotational new grad program, called the Technology Development Program. This program allowed him to explore various divisions within the company, such as the claims and mobile divisions, providing him with a broad perspective of the technology landscape. However, it was a chance encounter with a locked door labeled ‘Cybersecurity Department’ within GEICO’s Chevy Chase, Maryland headquarters that truly piqued his interest. Intrigued, he requested to join the department and soon found himself as a member of the application security team. Here, he worked on improving the security of internal web applications that policyholders would use.

After six years at GEICO, Devin felt ready for a new challenge. He joined NowSecure, a company specializing in mobile application security testing. Over the course of two years, he learned how to be a mobile application security pentester and worked closely with clients to improve the security of their mobile apps.

After gaining valuable experience at GEICO and NowSecure, he joined Microsoft as a Security Program Manager. At Microsoft, he embraced the concept of a growth mindset, continually seeking to learn and improve. In his current role, he manages the end-to-end lifecycle of vulnerability reports from external researchers who identify security issues. He acts as a liaison between the researchers and the engineering teams, ensuring that the identified vulnerabilities are addressed and fixed. He also leads internal projects aimed at automating the vulnerability disclosure process.

Outside of his professional life, Devin hosts The Talking Tech Podcast into the tech industry was not a straight path, but rather a series of explorations and discoveries. He would often reach out to professionals on LinkedIn and social media, seeking advice and insights about their companies and roles. These interactions, often in the form of 15 to 20-minute virtual coffee chats, honed his questioning skills and broadened his perspective. The idea of starting a podcast was suggested during these chats. Recognizing the lack of diversity he had observed in the tech industry, Devin saw this as an opportunity to make a difference. He envisioned The Talking Tech podcast as a platform to amplify diverse voices in technology and cybersecurity. As a Black professional who often found himself as the only person of color in tech teams, he felt a strong desire to connect with others who shared similar experiences. The podcast also serves as a launchpad for those trying to break into security, providing them with a platform to showcase their skills and potentially catch the eye of hiring managers. Since its inception, The Talking Tech Podcast has evolved to include a wide range of tech and cybersecurity content. Devin enjoys engaging with guests about their passion projects and businesses, further enriching the podcast’s content.

Devin’s journey in the tech industry has taught him the importance of continuous learning. He believes that no matter how much one knows, there’s always room for growth and new opportunities. This mindset has been a cornerstone of his success. For individuals who are Black or People of Color, he emphasizes the importance of finding a community that understands their unique experiences. He recommends joining technology and cybersecurity groups such as Blacks in Cybersecurity, Black Girls Hack, Cyversity, Black Men in Tech, Baddies in Tech, and the Blacks in Technology Foundation. These communities provide a supportive environment to connect, learn, and grow.

Devin attributes a significant part of his success to the support and guidance he received from like-minded individuals who shared his experiences. He is also a part of ForbesBLK, a global community of black entrepreneurs and leaders focused on making an impact and leaving a legacy on a global stage. He encourages anyone who is Black or a Person of Color to join such communities.

When he’s not working, Devin enjoys spending time with his wife and 1-year old son, working out at Planet Fitness, playing pickleball, and immersing himself in virtual reality games. He’s a fan of 70s and 80s music, with Michael Jackson and Queen being his favorite musicians. An avid reader, his latest read is Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win, which focuses on how leaders should take ownership and responsibility for their teams. He also enjoys classic literature, such as Treasure Island and the Count of Monte Cristo. Union Church has also been his second home since he was 18.

In his professional life, Devin aspires to be a high-impact technologist and information security professional who helps organizations manage their security risks. His story serves as an inspiration for anyone looking to carve their own path in the world of technology and cybersecurity.

Connect with Devin on LinkedIn

Organizations Supporting Diversity in Tech:

Blacks In Tech Foundation: This is the largest community of Black people in the technology industry, providing a platform for networking and development.

BLK Men In Tech: This organization is dedicated to providing access, resources, and a sense of community for Black men within the tech industry.

Baddies In Tech: A career development and networking community specifically designed for women of color in technology.

Organizations Supporting Diversity in Cybersecurity:

Blacks in Cybersecurity: An all-encompassing networking and development group for the Black community in cybersecurity. They also host a cybersecurity conference series.

Cyversity: A non-profit organization with a mission to achieve consistent representation of women, underrepresented minorities, and all veterans in the cybersecurity industry through programs designed to diversify, educate, and empower.

Minorities in Cybersecurity (MiC): Created by leading cybersecurity professionals, MiC aims to develop the next generation of great cybersecurity leaders.

BlackGirlsHack: This organization provides resources, training, and access to black women, with the goal of increasing representation in cybersecurity.

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