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An unlikely career change: one dad’s story

Career hacks
Written by Steven White

Adam Greatrix’s leap from international hacker to teacher is an inspiring tale of a career change against the odds.

Having completed a degree in computing, keen programmer Adam Greatrix studied for a PhD in Knowledge Data Modelling. Soon after, he was offered a job as a part-time lecturer on the world’s first ethical hacking degree teaching forensic computing classes.

Although more common today, the concept of ‘ethical hacking’ was fairly new at the time and a degree subject like this felt more of a gamble. But the opportunity led Adam down an unexpected path.

After 10 years as a lecturer and with a wealth of computing experience under his belt, along came a position too good to turn down: he was headhunted by a global company based in the USA.

The thrill of it

Working remotely from the UK, where he lived with his wife and daughter, as a senior technical analyst and global support team lead for the company, Adam was soon solving major technical problems and protecting high-level data security worldwide.

He enjoyed business trips to California alongside the thrill of fixing types of issues that other people deemed impossible to resolve.

However, a few years on, and now with two children, the pressures of life in ethical hacking were taking its toll. Adam was frequently on-call, sometimes for 24 hours at a time, and juggling many sleepless nights with the demands of a newborn.

He felt he couldn’t sustain this lifestyle any longer and wanted to spend more time with his young, growing family. Something had to give. He looked for a way out.

With no clear idea of what to do next or how to transition from something as niche as ethical hacking to a less exacting career, Adam left the job and took a year out to spend time with his family.

Read the rest of the article here in the spring ’20 issue.

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