The Network Bouncer: Q&A with Network Security Alumni Zachary Haight

Network Security Lock
The Network Bouncer

Author: Natasha Di Luorio/ Carla Du Toit

Centre for Arts & Technology Network Security alumni Zachary Haight makes sure the right code gets in, and the wrong code stays out…

Q: Your age, where are you from originally, and where do you live now?

A: 27, NYC/Seattle, Seattle.

Q: How did you get from NYC/Seattle to Kelowna/ CAT?

A: Hockey. I played in Penticton and actually fell in love with the valley. Married a girl from Vernon, in fact – lol.

Q: What made you decide to get into Network Security?

A: I always had an interest in networking, more specifically in breaking networks. Security was a way to continue expanding that knowledge in a legal and lucrative manner!

Q: What was your favorite part of the program at CAT?

A: Smaller class sizes than a typical university, profs were able to teach to varying skill levels at an accelerated pace.

Q: How did you get started professionally in the industry? (we hear you had a job before you even graduated?!)

A: I actually met some industry contacts through friends who kindly submitted my resume
to a number of large tech companies until I got a bite and was hired!

Q: Where do you work now, and what is it exactly that you do?

A: Checkpoint Software Technologies, an Israeli- based next-generation firewall company. I am a Solutions Architect (help
build pre-production security architectures) and am the subject matter expert covering the western region of the US on our public/private cloud solution. (AWS, Azure, GPC, etc.)

Q: What personal achievement are you most proud of?

A: The public speaking engagements I’ve done for my current company. One of the biggest hurdles most engineers face is their inability to overcome presumed social anxiety. I can say being thrust in front of crowds both big and small and being able to clearly articulate a technology or a logic has been really rewarding.

Q: What is a common misconception about Network Security?

A: In terms of the industry, some people believe that we are stuck at a desk behind a computer more than is actually the case. I spend a lot of time at conferences both exhibiting our technologies and learning about other technologies. I’m writing these answers from the lobby of the Venetian in Las Vegas for the AWS: Reinvent Conference, for instance, where I’ll take classes and gain certifications to accelerate my career.

Q: Are you MAC or PC?

A: Mac when developing, PC for infrastructure management. So, both. If I had to pick one it would certainly be PC.

Q: What is the funniest password you’ve ever encountered?

A: It was spanishgirlsftw1234. Coincidentally, it was my bosses password in my previous role. I learned some things about him in the conversation that followed that I didn’t necessarily want to!

Q: What are your future plans?

A: I plan to dig deeper into the public cloud space and potentially move at some point to a role where the entirety of my job is architecture design for public cloud infrastructure in the enterprise.

Q: What words of advice would you give to a student interested in the field?

A: Never stop learning, we say to our new hires ‘prepare to drink from the firehouse’. The reality is we are all always doing just that; there’s only so much time in the day but so much to learn.