A Successful Youth Sets an Example for Adolescents

A Professional in the Area of IT Security Delivers a Speech to HackerTeen Students

Gustavo Alberto de Oliveira AlvesOn the 7th of October (Friday), Gustavo Alberto de Oliveira Alves, a national figure in the area of IT security, will give a speech to the entire HackerTeen student body from 3:00 PM to 4:00 PM, through NetClass, the project's virtual classroom. The theme for the lecture will be “Tips for a Successful Career in IT Security”.

Gustavo Alves won the International Challenge of the Sans Institute and, at 21 years of age, was already giving training courses and lectures at companies and government agencies. Currently, at 26 years of age, he is responsible for formulating graduate courses in Information Security (Latu Sensu) at the Center for Electronic Computing at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, NCE/UFRJ (www.nce.ufrj.br), where he serves as coordinator. He is publishing a book on IT security governance and continues with his activities as an IT security consultant.

The talk will be digitalized and made available in a file for all to access on the HackerTeen site.

Please refer to the small bio below on his professional career.

The beginning

“When I was 8 years old I registered for a course in Basic near my house and this is how I learned how to program. After a certain amount of time away from it, I got involved again when I was 15. That is when I got my first PC. At that time, the internet was just beginning in Brazil and I used to go online to play computer games. I always used to tinker with two operational systems: Windows and Linux. For two years I immersed myself in that world. I accessed the IRC channels and would enter the private groups there; I then began to learn the hacking programs. That is how I got to know the dark side of the internet. There was no IT security culture as there is today. Therefore, it was basically easy to break into a system (for example, passwords and log-ons)”.

The other side

“With maturity, I came to realize that I was on the wrong side of things. I knew that, the way I was going, I wouldn't get anywhere. I knew that I needed to specialize more to be able to use my knowledge to grow professionally and help unprotected users. Therefore, I decided to study in preparatory school. It worked. I was admitted to the School of Information Science at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. For the first year of college, I enrolled in a scientific initiation course. I read a lot, I studied a lot, and I put together many laboratory instrument tests; to gain more knowledge”.

“When I was 19, I was hired as a tech support trainee of the module and, after a while, I established going to SANS as my personal goal. I've always been very persistent and always believed that I could reach this goal. I was promoted to security analyst trainee. After six months, I was a junior analyst. Three or four months later I was a full analyst then a senior one. When I went to the SANS challenge, I was 21 years old”.

Professional Recognition

“I won the challenge and, after that, I was on the TV show Fantastic, in the magazine Exame, on TV again, and by then I was recognized in the market as an experienced professional in IT security. I started receiving invitations to give lectures, courses and training courses in the area of IT security, forensic reports, legal aspects, etc.; all the while involving myself more and more deeply in the issues of each area. For sure I was one of the people responsible for the dissemination of IT security which, until then, had been very weak”.

The path to success

“The main characteristic that an adolescent needs to enter into the world of IT security is persistence. In my opinion, this means one must: study a lot, really like the literature, be responsible at work and be persistent. I feel that it is fundamental that one has to have a strategy in mind in order to reach defined goals: what do I have to do right now to achieve these goals? What do I have to do in the medium run? And finally, what do I have to do in the long run? Discipline is also fundamental; without discipline, it is always difficult to reach objectives”.

In addition to professional life

“A lot of people think that I live as a prisoner in the world of information science. I try to balance my professional life of bits and bytes with sporting activities such as boxing, surfing and weight lifting. It is important to have other activities because we spend a lot of time sitting in front of the machine, which tends to make us sedentary. It is important to maintain a balance between your professional and personal life so that one does not interfere with the other in a negative way. Besides all of these factors, one fundamental for success is very simple: be true to yourself”.

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