Last week, I updated my Linkedin profile with my new role as a Software Engineer working on Verified.Me Identity Network at SecureKey. Hundreds of people congratulated me with the normal “Congrats on your new job” messages. In the mix were a few messages about why I decided to join SecureKey. Since Shopify is a great company with amazing people and culture, people were genuinely curious and some friends even called to ask. The purpose of this post is to share why I joined SecureKey and the process I use to make big decisions. Spoiler alert, it involves the Fibonacci sequence.
When I look at the future, I see security, privacy and self-sovereign identity as areas that will grow very rapidly. People are starting to demand control of their information from companies like Facebook and Google and the discussion of who owns what data has become mainstream. I envision that in the next few years, there will be a shift in the way companies collect, store, share and use data. SecureKey is at the forefront of this shift and I truly believe that being in the space now will provide me with adequate skill-sets to help companies expedite the transition towards the fourth industrial revolution where security, privacy, and self-sovereign identity will be at the forefront of many companies strategy. The new industrial revolution or industry 4.0 comes with unclear legal issues around data security so we need experts to lead discussions around these issues. I believe that SecureKey will allow me to learn and work hard each day to be one of those experts.
Additionally, the Internet of Things (IoT) is giving rise to many connected devices and people. These connected devices are used in home automation for making our lives more efficient, in manufacturing for realtime process monitoring and control of the machine and in person-to-person/person-to-machine communication. Connected devices used for home automation open up lots of new attack vectors and the security ramifications of these connections and devices are not being properly considered yet. I envision that a time will come soon that we will need to seriously focus on the security of these devices: how they are identified and how access is granted to them.
Finally, while analyzing my long-term goals, an important skill you get to develop and focus on at Shopify, I see myself doing better in the space that SecureKey works in. When I also look deep and analyze the areas I am strong at, I realized I am very strong with anything related to privacy, identity and data sharing. That is why my capstone project focused on Blockchain for big data access control. The resulting paper was published less than a year ago and has been referenced in a book and a few other research publication. It might not be a big deal but it means something to me and I know it means something at SecureKey and the experience will likely be useful there.
So how did I make the big decision? Well, it took me two weeks to decide which offer to accept. I had the decision to make when I flew to Berlin for GraphqlConf. Being away gave me ample time to think and reflect. Then I made a list of the things I was looking for in a job and which items aligned with where I want to be in 5 years. I then ranked each criterion with a number from the Fibonacci sequence. The most important criteria got a score of 13 and the least important got a 1. Next, I assigned a zero (0) or one (1) to an offer/company if it meets a criterion. Finally, I did a sum-product to get the top offers. Using this ranking and my gut feeling, I made my decision. I must have learned about this process somewhere but cannot remember how or where but I am working on improving it by first reading/listening to Algorithms to live by. Let me know if you’ll like a template of the spreadsheet I use to make big decisions like this.