E5 - Maurizio Abba at Cloudflare

Matthew Ayres
Maurizio Abba

By Matthew Ayres & Maurizio Abba

On the 5th episode of our Security Vendor spin-off series, we were joined by our host and Head of Cloud Security, Matt Ayres and our guest, Maurizio Abba, the Engineering Manager at Cloudflare. During this episode, they discuss how his education played a part in getting him to where he is today and some of the skills he took and implemented day to day. They also delve into some of the things his career taught him that he believes everyone should know.

Maurizio started his journey off at university when he decided to take a Computer Science degree. He didn’t actually know what he wants to do but he knew computers were going to be the future, so he went with it.

His interest in security sparked when he didn’t have an internet connection at home during college, which was a real problem for him before discovered his neighbours’ Wi-Fi and password. It got his brain ticking how things work on the inside and from there he progressed with his Computer Science degree, did security courses and then eventually after university got a scholarship to study abroad. He met a guy during that time who ended up offering him an opportunity to join a start-up in their London office. So, his career ultimately started from this point as an Engineer. He ended up joining Cloudflare as an Engineering Manager down the line and the rest is history.

His Computer Science background helped him through this journey; however, it didn’t help him out in the sense of things he learns there and can apply to his job. But what it did was give him the fundamental skills of problem-solving. Is that a skill you can only learn at university? No there are other ways but it’s an incredibly important skill that he can now take with him through any role he has, which essentially is crucial in this particular industry.

Advice to his younger self…

Something he would tell himself if he could go back would be to not settle and to try to get out of his comfort zone. This is a lesson to anyone getting into any industry, try to create your network, and don’t be scared to ask questions. Everyone is much happier to help and answer questions than you think.

Something he learnt along the way was he can see a big difference between people that are happy with shallow knowledge vs. people who are eager to go deep into a subject. That’s why everyone should keep in mind that what you’re doing is visible to those who are hiring. Hiring managers will look at your CV, LinkedIn, blog posts etc and will see if you’re happy with basic knowledge or try to go into details about things.

With a job like this, being the Engineering Manager there comes great rewards but also it has its pitfalls. He questions himself, am I doing the right thing for my team? Am I putting them in a position to succeed? Or am I actually swapping their future success for an immediate benefit? It’s a huge responsibility he takes very seriously because he not only considers how well his team are generally but how each individual will succeed and how that will have a domino effect on their life.

The value of resilience…

The first step into the industry is the hardest part, however, there will always be struggles during your career. The value of resilience is something the industry as a whole hasn’t prioritised as a fundamental. When things aren’t going well you need to keep calm and carry on.

Tune in on 31/01/2023 to hear the full episode.