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MySwitch2Cyber: Poet and performer to Junior developer

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MySwitch2Cyber: Poet and performer to Junior developer

In this instalment of our MySwitch2Cyber blog series, our talent attraction team sat down with Gijs ter Haar from our Dutch team at Fox-IT to hear about his journey from a career as a poet and performer to a security trainee and now junior developer at DetACT.

My name is Gijs ter Haar, I am 59 years old and I am a trainee/junior developer at DetACT in Delft, at Fox-IT / NCC Group. This is my first role at Fox-IT, I started first of January 2022 in a group of five trainees, with ‘scrum master’ and ‘product owner’ certificates only in my pocket.

In my training so far I got my Python PCEP certificate and we are now going for the PCAP. We are getting to know all the basics: git, bitbucket, http, html, css, regex, json, oop. I did a lot of this on LinkedIn Learning this year. At this point little by little we (the group) are starting to work on tickets. So - all in all - I think all is going well.

So how did I end up at Fox? I used to work in the cultural field before as an organiser, coördinator and consultant. I write poetry (I have a book in the works right now too) and I still perform, I published 6 poetry volumes and 2 cd-s. I also gave workshops and masterclasses to students and writers.

That all collapsed after the cuts in government grants for culture in 2012. I continued writing and sometimes performing, but I realized I had to get a side job. I thought I found my place at Apple as a support agent. I was pretty good at it, but it was very poorly payed, not enough to live on. So I went back to logistics in 2015. I renewed all my certificates from before (forklift, reachtruck, combitruck), but I ran into my physical limits, at the end of 2019.

They wanted to label me unfit for work, that I live on allowance of the social services for the last 10 years of my working life. That is really not my thing, so I went back to school. I gathered information about programming, and started to work on myself once again.

I got my scrum master and product owner certificates in an apprentice project for the Tuinbranche Nederland (Trade Association of Gardeners), and shortly thereafter I applied at Fox-IT for a product owner role. I was lucky enough to get an interview with Daniel Rompas, who recognised my soft skills and told me that Fox-IT was still looking for 1 more trainee python developer.

Once again, I was at the right place exactly at the right time. And that's how I rolled into cyber security. I hope to end my working life at Fox-IT, because my aim is and has always been to learn and rise above myself every new day. I don't know where this road at Fox-IT will take me, but I'm on my way.

My advice: don't forget to relax, breathe, do nothing. Don't take the futile things to serious, it might influence you in a negative way. Just focus on trying to be the best version of yourself with respect to everything and everybody around you. Every day.

MySwitch2Cyber
This blog is the 6th of our new series of career blogs ‘MySwitch2Cyber’, in which we will be sharing the inspiring stories of our colleagues who joined NCC Group at the start of their cyber security journey from diverse and non-traditional career backgrounds.

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