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Here’s how David put his top three pieces of career advice into action at Palo Alto Networks

Career Advice Template 650X440 R1.2

By: David Cumbow, Principal Solutions Architect

As I look back on the past 20 years of my IT career, these are the top three pieces of career advice I try to live by: passion, growth, and change

When choosing a career path, there are many factors to consider. However, one of the most important things to remember is to have a genuine passion for what you do. When you are truly passionate about your work, it doesn't feel like work at all. Rather, it becomes a source of inspiration, motivation, and fulfillment. So, before you make any major career decisions, take some time to reflect on what truly drives you and what brings you joy. For me, a major turning point was seven years ago. Having been in Public Sector IT for 13 years and wearing many hats, I had the opportunity to hyperfocus on cybersecurity for the leader in the market. It was a win-win situation for me to transition to Palo Alto Networks.

Another important aspect of building a successful career is seeking out growth opportunities. No matter how skilled or experienced you are, there is always room for improvement and development. By staying curious and open-minded, you can identify new areas to learn and grow in. This can mean taking on challenging projects, seeking mentorship, or pursuing additional training or education. By constantly expanding your skills and knowledge base, you can position yourself for long-term success and advancement. In the seven years I’ve been at Palo Alto Networks, I’ve had amazing personal growth alongside the company's growth. From being a Field SE to managing an amazing SE team and now to being a Nationwide Architect, I’ve continued challenging myself to grow.

Finally, it's important to remember that your career path is not set in stone; change will happen. As you grow and evolve, your professional goals and priorities may also shift. Don't be afraid to allow yourself to grow into and out of companies as needed. By staying flexible and open to new opportunities, you can find the path that is truly right for you. Above all, remember that your career is your own journey, and it's up to you to make the most of it. This is most apparent with the great people I work with at Palo Alto Networks. The number of folks that started in a different field of work and are now cybersecurity professionals is incredible. It’s great to hear the stories of some of our leaders and the journeys they’ve taken to get to where they are today. Again, nothing is set in stone, and you are the author of your own book. Get out there and make it something amazing!

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