Steven 4.0

Hello everyone, I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to Steven 4.0. If you have no idea that there were three previous versions of me, that’s all right. The number is a rough estimate of how many “big periods” I went through in my life. To roughly summarize things, these are the release notes of the previous versions:

  • 1.0 I was a little dude who just went to school and did things other kids did. Everyone thought I was a little bit shy but super smart and there wasn’t really much of a problem with that.
  • 2.0 I’m a young dude who starts to feel a little bit “off”. The other dudes of my age seem to be able to do things that I can only dream of, like talk to women. Or people in general. But at least I have a job. Which is okay, because money.
  • 3.0 Someone tells me I should look into “Aspergers” because an article they wrote describes me to the T. Haha, that’s really funny but there’s no way I could be… *reads article and does research* … autistic. Oh shit. Well, at least I still have a job and I can use the money to forget about my job…

And now there’s Steven 4.0, the latest version. What is new in this version of Steven?

First of all, there’s an official autism diagnosis now. Last week, I got back the results of my (late) diagnosis and the psych said it was pretty clear. All tests indicate that I am on the spectrum. I am “very gifted” in some parts (my language skills are supposed to be in the “gifted” reagion) and I scored poorly in some others, mostly in “practical reasoning”.

I never thought I would get an official diagnosis because I never saw the point in having one. But I reached a point where my “conviction” didn’t make sense anymore. There was no point in not getting a diagnosis. If anything, a diagnosis could open some doors to help that would otherwise be unavailable.

Since I now have an official diagnosis, I feel like I can be more “open” about it, especially online where I am way better at expressing myself than in person. One thing I want to do, is to try and write about a topic which impacts a lot of people with autism, which is employment. I’m not saying that I can write guru-level blog posts on the topic but I can give people with autism and especially the people who are employing them some pointers on how to make their lives easier. We’ll see what happens with that idea.

Steven 4.0 drops “developer” for “hacker”.

Another exciting feature of this new release is that we replaced the class “Developer” with “Ethical Hacker”. This is a result of the career change which I have made but never really announced anywhere. It’s also a result of a “mentality” change that I made.

I’ll admit it straight out of the gate. I am not the best developer. You could probably say that I am not even a good developer and part of me makes me wonder why I convinced myself that I could be a great developer one day. But the truth is that I lack the focus and the dedication to become a master of objects, classes and functions.

For me, programming has always been more or less a “tool” to get something done. I want to do X and I have to figure out how Python works? Guess I’ll learn enough Python to get it done. Someone wants a web app that does Y? Hey, I read that I can do that in Laravel. And it works toojustpleasedon’treadmycode.

On the flip side, I have always had the same approach to networking and computer systems. I have a good general knowledge of the topic but I never wanted to specialize in something. I was far more interested in making something work rather than studying the specific modules of Windows Server Whateveryear.

When you combine these two parts, you could argue that it makes for the worlds’ worst IT person. But as it turns out, there’s a profession where I get to combine both of those fields and where I can make a living. And that’s ethical hacking.

Ethical hacking combines both worlds because it requires someone to have knowledge of computer networks, security, AD, Windows, Linux and all those things. But there is also the expectation that someone who wants to be an ethical hacker is proficient in programming. Not on a rock star level, but at the very least good enough to build applications that get the (hacking job) done.

There are other elements of ethical hacking that suit me perfectly, as well. I truly enjoy the research aspect of it, getting to learn and read about a wide variety of things and I love writing reports.You read that right. I love writing pentest reports after my job is done. I’d say that I like it just as much as actually hacking my target. Weird, I know. Don’t judge me.

You might think that I just woke up and decided to call myself an ethical hacker. You would be wrong. Last year, my employer asked me if I would be interested in retraining into an “ethical hacker” and I accepted the offer. Of course, that still doesn’t make me an ethical hacker. And you could argue that the certificate I have under my belt also doesn’t make me an ethical hacker. Or the fact that I have completed my first assignments.

I’m going to stop feeding you ammo against my claim that I’m an ethical hacker, because the bottom line is that I am currently employed as an ethical hacker, and I’m certified. So, take that. Of course I still have a ton of things to learn in this field, but I feel like this is a good fit for me because it fits my “hacker brain” of wanting to investigate how things work and my inate desire to get things working (or, sometimes, to stop them from working).

Bottom line is that this is the field that I will be focusing on from this point forward. I’m both excited and scared, because there’s so much to learn (yep, it’s both my reason to be scared and excited).

P.S Yes, Steven 4.0 comes with yet another Hoodie template. Because stereotypes and because they’re super comfortable and your opinion on what I wear doesn’t matter.