This article was originally posted at Technical.ly.
Well before he became a cybersecurity entrepreneur and founded Ey3 Technologies, Terry Bazemore Jr. originally wanted to be a graphic designer when he grew up. The Prince George's County, Maryland native was amazed by the set design and digital representation of DC in the sci-fi classic “Independence Day.” Bazemore wanted to create that, and everyone around him said that graphic design was the path to take. He studied it at Prince George's Community College, but there was one problem.
He couldn't draw.
“The other part of that is I didn't have a passion to get better,” Bazemore added to Technical.ly.
A friend saw him struggling and suggested he switch to finance. That brought Bazemore to an auditor assistant position with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, which required him to examine thousands of emails for insider trading. He wrote a script to automate it after manual scans only yielded a few cooking recipes and an argument about a cookout. His supervisor loved the script and recommended he check out information security education. Bazemore then joined the computer science program at the University of Maryland Global Campus and has been in the cybersecurity field ever since.
For Bazemore, 38, making these pivots didn't require that he feel 100% ready beforehand, and he believes people taking similarly large steps don't need that certitude.
“The key to career transitioning is to do it scared,” Bazemore said. “I never had overconfidence in the decisions I was making to move into a different field. I did have unknowns, worries and concerns. At the same time, I looked into it and saw it was going to be the best thing for me.”
The way he saw it, the worst that could happen was gaining a new skill.
Bazemore previously worked for Lockheed Martin, making his way from junior network defender to the leadership development program. He also worked as an information assurance engineer with Lockheed's Center for Cybersecurity Innovation before joining penetration testing company Securion as a senior security engineer; There, he helped protect the security infrastructure of government agencies like the Department of Defense and US Patent and Trademark Office from DDoS attacks and other interference.
He then went to the now-defunct NES Associates, where he tracked cyberthreat hacking groups as an information systems security lead, before joining CACI International as a computer network operations tester, checking the effectiveness of offensive cyber tools. He executed similar checks on offensive cyber tools' effectiveness at his next post, as a principal cyber test engineer for CNF Technologies. Linking these numerous resume highlights was a motivation to confront challenges without setting his fears aside.
“Anything new, I have to do it scared,” Bazemore said. “It keeps me on my toes. It made me study more, stay focused [on the tasks] because I didn't have a certainty any one thing would work out. So it's like, aye, if I'm going to do this, I'm going to give it my all and do it until I feel confident.”
He'd been a cyber test engineer for the past seven years until deciding to start Ey3 Technologies alongside his wife. The company was in the inaugural cohort of Hutch, the incubator that downtown software company Fearless created to support civic tech companies offering digital services for the federal government.
“I never saw myself owning a company,” Bazemore recounted. “In DC, the biggest thing for an African American male is to get into the government. It's secure. I foresaw a GS-14 [paygrade] in the government with an office.”
But the experience at Hutch showed him the impact he could have not just on PG county, but also on Baltimore, in helping people break into cybersecurity. The way people mention Fearless with pride reflects the legacy Bazemore seeks for Ey3 Technologies.
He said he wants people, during his professional endgame, to be able to say, “I can see how the school systems were impacted [by Ey3 Technologies]. I can see how they furthered the cybersecurity industry in these ways — not only in the DOD and federal space, but also locally.”