E3 - Varun Uppal at F5

Varun Uppal

By Varun Uppal

On the 3rd episode of our Security Vendor spin-off, we were joined by our Network Security Consultant, Jake Brown and Varun Uppal, the Senior Director at F5. During this episode, the pair discuss his natural progression through the industry based on his passion for always wanting to solve a bigger problem. They also delve into the best route to Security and the different options someone can take if they are considering a career in the Security space.

“To get to where I am, I had to persevere and persist”.

When Varun started in this industry, he found that what helped him get from A to B was his curiosity and being able to seek and create opportunities for himself.

Back when he started his degree in Computer Science, he started looking for volunteer work. He reached out to charity hospitals to help build some programs for them, which he ended up loving. Once he finished that project, he took on a role supporting broadband routers. During that time, he questioned himself, “Wouldn’t it be nice to test these things better so that we have fewer support cases”. That’s when he started looking for some other opportunities where he could get into testing network devices. From there he went into the development of routers and switches and then the next step for him was system engineering/sales engineering where he could take these developed devices and integrate them into customer environments.

As a System Engineer, he worked in the niche area of satellite communications, which lead him into the area of investigating the performance of the off-the-shelf devices he was working on. The progression in his career stemmed from his wanting to solve a bigger problem.

The best route into security?

If you’re looking to go down the security route, start looking at the emerging technologies that are related to that space and heavily focus on learning them. AI and Machine Learning are just a couple that predominates at the moment. Also having an analytical mind and being able to analyse data will be a great route to start with, especially in Cyber Security.

A lot of employers, F5 being one of them, have a great internship program. There are a lot of opportunities at F5 which can ultimately lead to full-time employment.

When he reflects back on his career, we look into what advice he would give his 16-year-old self. Varun is pleased with his journey. One thing he would suggest from his experience is to keep seeking, learning, and creating new opportunities for yourself. It’s good to have a strong foundation and love what you do. Go for the natural progression route rather than focusing on the pay cheque. Volunteering is overlooked, it got his foot in the door so it’s definitely something to consider if you are looking for some hands-on experience.

Make sure to tune in on 17/01/2022 to hear the full interview!