My name is Mark Fabian – but to my friends and colleagues, it’s just Fabian. Today, I’m in the spotlight, discussing what really is my dream job — lead penetration tester here at Raxis. After just a few short months, I can highly recommend that you check our careers page and our YouTube channel to see if this is the career path and company for you.
Jim: Mark, I think it’s important to let folks know that you represent “Raxis West” as the only Californian on the team.
Fabian: That’s right. I’ve spent all but four years of my life in Northern California, here in the Sacramento area. Even the time away was just down south in San Diego.
Jim: You must like it out there.
Fabian: This is a perfect spot for folks who like to spend more time outdoors than indoors. Personally, I enjoy all kinds of activities like hiking, wakeboarding, dirt biking, riding jet skis, going out on houseboats, and just hanging out at the lake with my friends.
Jim: Sounds like you’re definitely in the right place.
Fabian: Yeah, the weather out here is great, though the water levels at the lakes have been down this year. There’s also an amazing number of activities within just a short drive, such as snowboarding or surfing.
Jim: Speaking of activities, I understand you’re a musician.
Fabian: I play guitar and some other instruments . . .
Jim: You should get together with Tim Semchenko. He can sing while you play.
Fabian: I was actually in a band for a few years that played metal and punk. I love all things music. I even used to run the soundboard for my church.
Jim: You have that in common with (VP of Business Development) Brad Herring.
Fabian: That’s interesting because church is also how I got started building websites. I made a remark about how outdated the church’s site was and they invited me to do better. The short version of the story is that I did and that became my duty.
Jim: Is that how you first got into tech?
Fabian: My interest in technology started a lot earlier. When I first started using the internet, we had an old, slow dial-up connection. But my neighbor had a much faster connection and Wi-Fi. As a joke, he said if I cracked the password, then I could use his Wi-Fi. I don’t think he ever expected me to crack it, but I did. Faster internet, here I come!
Jim: Are you really telling me that hacking was one of your first tech achievements?
Fabian: Ha! I guess so.
Jim: Geez. Where do you go from there?
Fabian: For me, it transformed into an interest in the mechanical side. I started repairing smart phones and tablets, adding memory to computers . . . that kind of stuff, mostly for friends and relatives.
Jim: That mechanical interest went beyond computers, though, right?
Fabian: Right. I grew up rebuilding cars and taking them to the track.
Jim: (Raxis CEO) Mark Puckett must have enjoyed your interview.
Fabian: Apparently, since I got the job. When I talked about my interest in cars, (COO) Bonnie Smyre joked, “Well, that’s it. We probably don’t need to know any more.” But I should add that I work on older, slower cars. No Porsches or Lamborghinis. And our track is more for drifting than racing.
Jim: Did you find you had a knack for mechanic work, a greasy thumb or something?
Fabian: Yes, as I kid, I used to rebuild gas powered scooters. Also thought it would be a blast to take a weed-whacker motor and attach it to my bike. It did not disappoint. As I grew, the projects just got bigger. So, I started rebuilding car engines, changing out the suspension, doing custom fab work, and so forth.
Jim: Did you consider making that a career?
Fabian: In a way, yes. When I really focused on what I wanted to do for a living, three possibilities were at the top of the list: helicopter pilot, master mechanic, or a job in the tech field. But helicopter instruction is very expensive, and it would have taken as long to be a master mechanic as it did to develop the same level of skills in the tech field. Plus, technology seemed more versatile.
Jim: Once you decided on technology, how did you decide that penetration testing was going to be your area of focus?
Fabian: That was always my biggest interest. I just didn’t know how to get there at the time. So, I started with building websites, affiliate marketing, landing pages, that kind of stuff.
Fabian: I did get my A.A. degree in computer science, but then I decided to start working on certifications instead of continuing in college. I got a helpdesk job because I thought that would be a good first step.
Jim: Seems like it was.
Fabian: It was, but there were a lot more steps in between. I went from doing helpdesk work to becoming an IT admin. I moved from there into a security operations center (SOC) analyst role to doing blue and purple team assignments. Finally, I landed at Raxis.
Jim: Is it as good as you thought it would be?
Fabian: Absolutely. This was the dream job, and working with the Raxis team has been an incredible experience. I love offensive security, finding and exploiting new vulnerabilities, and learning more every day. I also appreciate that we get to work independently, but we can reach out when we need help and offer help when it’s needed.
“As others have said, the people are terrific and have a wealth of knowledge. They have high expectations for performance, but they give the team members a lot of flexibility and they encourage creativity.”Mark Fabian