Interview with Ryan Burkett, Cyber Security Specialist

Anonymous Hacker Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash
Photo by Ahmed Zayan on Unsplash

Ryan Burkett is a Cyber Security Professional with Noblis-ESI. His experience ranges from operations centers all the way to think tanks. His specialty is tackling “tough problems” and some that are not tough, just no one else wants to do them. These types of issues suit him well as he joined cyber security after spending his first career working with various youth organizations.


Ryan’s undergraduate degree was in the youth ministry. He actually started working with kids when he was 15 — and was a kid himself. He continued working with kids all the way up until he was 27 when he joined the army. 

Ryan’s advice? Don’t stop asking questions.

“So I said I want to live in a certain place and I want to get into Cyber,”  he explained. “This was 2012 and I knew (for vocational purposes) that this was going to be a great thing. But the important part of this was not the degree and into the background, it was and is the ability to continue to ask questions.”

So he walked into his new workplace – – what he calls a 3-letter agency — with the new government, and went and sat next to the other army people.  He then asked them, “What do you guys do?” And their answer was:  “Nothing”.

“So I went to the federal guys that we work for and said, “what do you want me to do? And they said to go sit over there. And I said I don’t want to sit over there because they’re not doing anything and I want to do something!”

So Ryan’s advice? Don’t stop asking questions.

Once you understand your project you’re going to drive with it.

In the end, the Army asked him to create a training manual. He ended up making 3 out of what he calls his ignorance and his ability to ask questions!

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