I recently partnered with our network security teams to recruit candidates to add to their teams. It is a highly technical field, and our requirements are no simple find, as network security, also known as NetSec, is a combination of many types of knowledge including VPNs, firewalls and load balancers in addition to the Linux and/or Windows administration knowledge base.
The interview process at Rackspace is thorough (to say the least), and I’ve had many candidates share that it is “really, really tough, but fair and incredibly eye-opening”. Our candidates go through a technical screen with a recruiter, which is then followed by a technical phone interview with a high level NetSec administrator or engineer. If they pass through those steps and demonstrate that they’re top-notch, we conduct a live interview of up to four hours that includes a panel of up to eight Rackers and some pretty intense white-boarding.
With the new assignment, I’ll admit that I was a bit apprehensive at first; however, in order to get an in-depth understanding of our netsec teams, I leaned on my fellow Rackers and had the fortunate opportunity to shadow both a senior member and a new hire on every team on all three shifts. Network security at Rackspace is typically divided into smaller teams for second and third shift, though first shift isn’t usually more than 15 people. The teams are mostly guys who really know their stuff, though we have some fanatical netsec women in senior level roles as well. Employees range in age and background, as we have a strong mix of both US born and internationally born employees, and everyone has something to learn from another team member.
Being a newbie to the field, I wasn’t sure how I’d be received by the teams, but every team assured me that they were excited to help me learn. I quickly saw that not only is this group incredibly talented, but senior members want to help less experienced and newer team members become masters while continuing to learn and grow themselves. Not once in the three weeks that I was shadowing did I see a team sitting in silence with their heads down. Rather, teams were working on tickets, talking across cubes or sending IMs with questions and drawing out diagrams of issues and possible solutions. There certainly are some quieter workers, but their input is equally valued and frequently sought out. The team dynamics change from shift to shift and team to team, but within every team, there was a distinct energy of excitement to learn, conquer challenges and grow as a group.
After my shadowing sessions concluded, I took a few minutes to draw out a very basic network to see if I truly grasped what the teams had showed me. I wandered up the stairs to some of our senior engineers and asked them if it made any sense at all. After a few seconds, the guys on the team looked at me with smiles and confirmed that yes, though it was a pretty basic, it made perfect sense and I’d have my CCNA before I knew it. They also encouraged me to stop by any time with questions, no matter how simple they seemed. If this is the support I’m receiving from the teams when I’m not even a netsec team member, I can only imagine the levels of support and fanaticism that team members give and receive from one another on a daily basis. Fanatical support and our commitment to greatness isn’t just something we extend to our customers; these are core values that we extend to our teammates and co-workers as well.Category: Rackers Tags: NetSec, Network Security Careers, Rackers, Security