My Motivational Experience at SCaLE 17x: I’m Pumped Up!

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I couldn’t attend the RSA Conference this past weekend so instead of staying home upset over having to miss out on all the cyber goodies, I attended SCaLE 17x in Pasadena, CA.

In case you didn’t know, SCaLE is the Southern California Linux Expo and this past weekend, they hosted their 17th Annual conference in Pasadena, California.

So today I wanted to share my experience at SCaLE 17x, as a cybersecurity student new to the field.

SCaLE 17x >>

Content for cybersecurity students >>

SCaLE 17x: The People

My experience at SCaLE 17x was a very positive one, mostly thanks to the conference-goers. Everyone was very supportive when I would mention that I’m transitioning career paths, and they were delighted to find out I was a cybersecurity student. Overall, the sentiment was more

“finally! We need more cybersec!”

rather than


Everyone was more than willing to offer tips and advice, but more on that later.

SCaLE 17x: The Lectures

To be honest, I didn’t attend as many lectures as I would have liked, though the ones I did attend were great. I sat in on:

While all the lectures and events I attended were interesting, some of them went over my head as a beginner in security. The Hardware Hacking 101 lecture was definitely beginner-friendly however, particularly since hardware hacking lends itself to great show-and-tell possibilities. It was interesting to learn about bash bunnies and rubber duckies – plus it was definitely a reminder to be wary of hardware you don’t recognize.

SCaLE 17x: The Events

My favorite part of my experience at SCaLE 17x was the events. I attended the Job and Career-Search Tips and Best Practices on Friday night and the Capture the Flag competition on Saturday afternoon.

Job and Career-Search Tips and Best Practices

This event was technically categorized as a lecture, but I’m considering it an event because no lecture actually took place.

To be completely honest with you, this was probably the highlight of my weekend for a couple of reasons.

As someone entering tech as a career change, I was lacking confidence in my resume. I wasn’t sure how competitive I would be as a candidate for internships or entry-level jobs since I don’t yet have any certifications or experience. Plus, I thought that theWhiteHat HACKER would be seen as something cheesy or useless, since “bloggers” don’t always get the best reputation.

And this event taught me a few things about my resume and professional situation:

  1. A career change can be a positive thing, especially if you’re then able to turn around and apply infosec to your previous field as an area of expertise.
  2. I have more experience than I thought, I just wasn’t seeing it for what it was.
  3. Blogging about cybersecurity was actually seen as a bonus, since I’m spreading awareness, teaching, and reinforcing my lessons learned. Sure, for more conservative companies I may want to call it a “website” with “articles” instead of a “blog” but at the end of the day, the general consensus was that I wasn’t expanding on that project enough!

Capture the Flag

To be honest, I participated in the beginner CTF tournament meant for high school students and still ranked very poorly (I ended up 36/55). However, I am registered to compete in the National Cyber League Spring Season this year and wanted to know what to expect. Being new to cybersecurity and technology, I had no idea how these events are run.

I had a great time and definitely learned a lot – particularly, I learned just how much I didn’t know!

Some professional conferences are intimidating to newcomers in the industry, so this tech student was nervous to attend. Today I want to share my experience at SCaLE 17x, as a cybersecurity student new to the technology field. #cybersecurity #cybersec #infosec

Dunning-Kruger effect anyone?

National Cyber League spring season >>

SCaLE 17x: The SWAG

Oh man, do those Linux guys and gals know how to give out great SWAG!

Coffee mugs, shirts, camera privacy stickers, penguin-shaped stress balls, and discounts on upcoming conferences, I got home with a very heavy bag.


What about you? What was your experience at SCaLE 17x this year?

If you find this post helpful, please be sure to share it with your peers. Online security benefits us all, and will only become more critical as technology’s presence grows in our community.

Get informed. Stay safe.


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