E1 - Tomasz Kacprzak at F5

Zack Mount
Tomasz Kacprzak

By Zack Mount & Tomasz Kacprzak

On our very first episode of The Route to Networking Security Vendor spin-off, we were joined by our host and Head of Network Security, Zack Mount and our guest, Tomasz Kacprzak, the Manager of Enhanced Services at F5. During today’s episode, they discuss all things Security and how Tomasz transitioned from Networking into Security as well as who F5 are and his position there.

F5 are a Service and Solution Provider for applications that deliver them back-to-back for their customers in a secure way. If you use an app today, you’ve probably gone through F5 at some point. Tomasz is going into his 8th year at F5 and it’s safe to say he’s certainly made his way up through the ranks during his time over the years. He started as a Network Support Engineer, moved to a Senior Engineer role then was promoted to Manager and then a year later progressed into the Manager of Enhances Services, so quite the journey!

Tomasz originally started out in Networking which was his initial focus. He went through various companies in Poland from small to large. Now being at F5, the application stuff was a lot newer to him so there was a lot to learn.

Making the transition…

Making the transition from your Networking guy into Security, was hard for Tomasz. It was something he wasn’t used to and at that time, F5 was one of the only companies that he knew of that were merging the 2 together. He had to brush up on a lot of things such as web pages, and HTML and go over all the basics.

For those who are just starting out in the space, don’t get tricked into thinking that if you’re typing it, you’re learning it. You’ll quickly learn that you can’t skip over the basics, you have to read everything and understand each step.

He’s also learnt that there is huge importance on soft skills in the IT industry, you can’t just be the tech guy anymore that hides behind a screen. It’s great to be technical but having those soft skills will open a lot of doors for you.

So, if you are just starting out in the industry, here are, some key pieces of advice that Tomasz suggests that you go by. Pick something and focus on it at the start of your career. Whether that’s Networking or Security, having something to focus on at the beginning will help guide you in the right direction. Don’t skip the basics, put in the time to really learn those fundamental skills because you will also fall back on those down the road. Look into getting certifications because when you’re starting it’s hard to stand out. certs are a good way to show you’re committed. Finally, think of it as a journey. You might start out as an Engineer but 5 years down the line you could make it into a Pre-Sales role or management.

For Tomasz, a key thing he has learnt coming from a Polish background is that he wouldn’t have gotten to where he is today if he didn’t learn the English language. If you’re learning Networking, Security, Applications etc, then do it in English. A lot of the stuff, in his experience, is translated but not very well.

Tune in to the first episode of our Security spin-off on the 10/01/2022 to hear the full interview!