The Cybersecurity Path: Insider Advice to Navigate a Successful Career in Security from Beginning to End

This book cover has a map on the back with the title in the center and two points in the corners with a dotted line connecting them.

Book written by Helen Patton

Book review by Rick Howard

Bottom Line

I recommend this nonfiction book for the Cybersecurity Canon Hall of Fame.


Full disclosure, I have known Helen Patton for many years now. Besides being a colleague, a thought leader in the industry, and an all around good person, she is a friend and I'm delighted that she has produced this fantastic book.

Most of the things that I read on the topic of cybersecurity tend toward the high level technical issues of the day. Rarely have I discovered wisdom in the form of a book that would actually help the  people in the trenches that work, struggle, and thrive in the infosec community today.    

That said, I have had hundreds of conversations over the years (in my office, at impromptu "lunch and learn" sessions, and just linked-in questions) from newbies trying to break into the field, mid-career professionals seeking advice, or senior leaders comparing notes about navigating the rough waters of the infosec community. At the end of each session, I always said to myself, I should write some of this stuff down. Well, that's no longer an issue. Helen has done it for us. She explains in articulate detail the soft side of cybersecurity; the habits, traits, and best practices that we should all follow to be the best security professionals we can be.

  • Why security is great but asking if it's the right field for you.
  • The essential skills and training you need.
  • Resume writing for security professionals.
  • Assessing your progress and how to make adjustments for success.
  • How to stay up to date in an ever-changing field.
  • How to manage stress - something that gets little attention in this stress inducing field.
  • Navigating the diversity gap both as a minority and as a woman and how, as leaders, we write job descriptions without bias. And, once we get a diverse team, how we keep them.
  • The decision to stay technical or move towards leadership.
  • How to deal with imposter syndrome - OMG! I've been doing this for 30 years and this still hits me like a ton of bricks every once in a while.
  • The decision to pursue another job in maybe a different organization.
  • How to lead a security organization. Your team is probably a mix of eclectic personalities. How do you think about getting them all going in the same direction?
  • Thinking strategically about infosec. Deciding what is important.
  • How to build a security team.
  • How to deal with senior leaders above you in the organization.

I highly recommend Helen's book for inclusion into the Cybersecurity Canon Hall of Fame. For me personally, at the end of every impromptu "lunch and learn" session in the future, I'm going to hand everybody a copy of Helen's book.


"The Cybersecurity Path: Insider Advice to Navigate a Successful Career in Security from Beginning to End," by Helen Patton, Narrated by Leslie Howard, Published by Wiley, December 2021

We modeled the Cybersecurity Canon after the Baseball Hall of Fame and the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, except it’s a canon for cybersecurity books. We have more than 25 books on the initial candidate list, but we are soliciting help from the cybersecurity community to increase the number. Please write a review and nominate your favorite. 

The Cybersecurity Canon is a real thing for our community. We have designed it so that you can directly participate in the process. Please do so! 

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