A security career: Choosing the right path

Posted on 29/09/2016 by Jay Banghar


Choosing the right path

This is an exciting time for professionals already employed within the Security sector, with opportunities aplenty and demand exceeding supply. In this buoyant environment with a plethora of choice available to the skilled professional, it helps to have the opportunity to share perspective on which is the best career path and how this can enable long-term goal achievement. In this blog we will consider one such career path discussion and the difficult questions you need answers to, in order to make the right decision:

Start Up Vs Principal

We are living in the Golden Age of Cybersecurity start-ups, but making an objective decision on whether a business is scalable and has a culture to succeed in Asia can be tough to determine. For instance, a strategy based on the replication of targets assigned to the US or European markets may not take account for the lengthy tender processes or sales gestation periods, particularly in emerging markets. This can lead to talented Sales leaders and Pre-Sales & Professional Services experts being left without the investment needed to realise their ambitions. What can be even more frustrating is when sales targets are achieved, but the establishment of a local post-sales, inside sales, marketing or operations support team is still not forthcoming.

We can help to encourage the employer to lay out the vision of APAC growth during the interview process, but how committed are they to achieving it, particularly in the event that there is a change in Senior Management? Furthermore, there might be a danger of narrowing your technical and / or product knowledge skills by focusing on a niche industry sector.

There will always be risks in joining a start-up, but that higher risk is surely part of the attraction! Being part of the first phase of APAC growth in a ground breaking company can be an attraction that outweighs risk and when you contrast the potential for hockey stick growth and the financial rewards of an equity arrangement offered by the start-up / pre IPO, choosing to move to an established vendor, with a traditional commission split and inevitable limitations on market coverage, it can seem less appealing.

There are obvious advantages of having the opportunity to drive an established brand, in that it allows for an effective transition for those operating in a similar ecosystem (e.g. storage) or a pathway to regional coverage that might not otherwise be available. However, for those already within an established vendor, the thought of transferring to a rival and the potential conflict of interest with existing customers, this can be unpalatable. Although, it is worth considering some of the potential advantages that this type of move could have; salary spike, wider regional coverage, clear pathway to management, guidance of a pioneering management team or taking responsibility to drive a newly acquired or developed product range are all realistic possibilities.

This leads to the question of whether we can we have the best of both worlds? Established Principals have recognised the need to adapt to their changing environment. For many, this has led to an aggressive acquisition strategy. Accepting the challenge to evangelise a new product within an established Principal’s portfolio can allow a great opportunity for ownership and rapid career growth, without a lot of the risks associated with your traditional start-up. Of course, aside from Principal vendors gobbling up the grateful start-up, we have a proliferation of Aerospace, OEM and other Software giants, not traditionally associated with Security, entering the arena, opening up an array of new possibilities in the future Cybersecurity space.

Making the right decision

At SearchElect our role is not just to share Job Descriptions and arrange interviews, The value we add is in introducing you to qualified opportunities with companies you have yet to encounter or to make you aware of the possibilities available with companies you may never have considered applying to. We seek the answers to the difficult questions and provide an objective analysis of the advantages and disadvantages of an opportunity, enabling you to make the right decision for your future. We support you throughout the process and consistently aim for maximum transparency, to mitigate the risk of unwanted surprises when employment commences.

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