Executive Viewpoint

See Yourself in Cyber: 5 Questions with Deb Snyder

In celebration of this year’s Cybersecurity Awareness Month theme – See Yourself in Cyber – we are spotlighting five VMware security pros to ask them five questions about their career path.

Deb Snyder is a cyber threat intelligence researcher supporting VMware Threat Analysis Unit’s malware team. She has over 10 years of experience in the cybersecurity realm working in the United States Marines and later as a Department of Defense (DOD) contractor for the National Security Agency. Deb has a passion for bringing together her background in data analytics and penetration testing to help find solutions for threat intelligence gaps. She lives in San Antonio, Texas.

1. How did you get involved in cybersecurity?

I first got into cyber threat intelligence in the U.S. Marine Corps where I served for 5 years. I completed my bachelor’s in computer science and then transitioned to a network threat analyst as a DOD contractor for 6 years. There, I got multiple certificates including my Graduate Certificate in Penetration Testing with SANS before eventually transitioning to VMware.

2. Explain your career path. Did you take any detours?

I took a detour about 6 years into my cybersecurity journey to study data science. After a year and a half of working a job that was solely data science, I knew it wasn’t the best fit, but it ignited a new passion. I wanted to marry the concepts I learned in data science with cybersecurity to help take it to the next level. So, I do not regret this detour, if anything, diversifying made me better analyst.

3. Was there anyone who has inspired you in your career to help you see yourself in cyber?

In the Marines, I met one of the first women I would ever meet in the cybersecurity realm. Sgt. Darr was not only an exceptional analyst on our Red Team, but one of the only women on that team at the time. She inspired me to really push my aspirations in cybersecurity even if I was the only woman in the room.

4. What’s the best career advice you ever received?

Do what is best for you, always. Whether that means taking time away to study something new, take time off, or moving to a new team, state or company. This is your career. Trust in yourself and your abilities.

5. What advice would you give to aspiring security leaders?

Always keep learning. Learning does not have to be a 4-year degree or formal certificate programs. There are resources all over the internet, events, conferences, PODs, briefings, people. Just keep feeding that curiosity, even if it doesn’t seem like it aligns with your supposed plan. You never know what will come of it.