"If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."

— Isaac Newton, 1675

“Everything I know about security I learned from someone else.”

— Jeff Man, 2018 (source)

It is my firm belief that I have only come as far as I have, through the help and support of family, friends and colleagues. I can't even begin to thank each and every one of them; I just hope that I have made it very clear to them how thankful I am to them. However, there are a few whom I would like to thank right here, in front of the Internet-at-large.

Marlijne Sluijter-Stek

My wife, life mate and best friend. She's had my back while Thomas-became-Tess and she's shown nothing but support for my endless studying.

Dick Krijgsman

Back in 2007, I intended to drop out of IT. With dramatic flair I decried that IT no longer "holds a challenge" and that I had burned out on it all. And thus I started out on my way to become a high school maths teacher. That first year at Hogeschool Utrecht really rekindled my love for learning and I can honestly say it was one of my most fun and challenging years.

By 2008 our plans changed: our daughter was on the way and we'd concluded that we could not properly raise a kid on the combined salaries of a trainee and a railway worker. I decided to go back into IT, which is where my good friend Dick stepped in. He told me: "I know you have this thing about not doing business with friends or family, but I'd like to make you an offer you can't refuse."

He was right.

Dick offered me a permanent, rock-solid contract at his new consulting firm Unixerius ( link). He offered better pay than I had received until then and we combined our social networks to make sure I'd get interesting contracting positions. Over the years he has given me every chance I wanted to develop myself, both personally and professionally. It's thanks to him that I've been able to rack up so many certifications and courses. And when the time came for “Thomas” to become “Tess” he stood by me. Knowing that he’d have my back if customers would give me hassle was a huge reassurance! He’s one of the people who have enabled me to become the “me” that I am today!

In 2021 Dick passed away. He is sorely missed by his family, friends and colleagues.

Lize Strydom

I am very grateful to Lize, for putting her trust in me to continue running Unixerius. Taking over from her and Dick, I'm going to have some big shoes to fill.

Rob Heemskerk

Four years after Dick helped me get my career back on track, it was my colleague Rob Heemskerk who kicked my butt. I was about to let my CISSP certification lapse, because at the time I didn't see the point of spending the annual fee. Besides, I'd started slacking off which meant I hadn't the required CPE to even renew the certificate. Rob reminded me of the effort it'd taken to achieve the certification and about the value it offers to freelancers like ourselves. And more importantly, that renewing my CISSP really wasn't as daunting a task as it seemed.

The Unix guys at ${BANK}

It's no secret that I've worked at various financial institutions. After renewing my CISSP the time'd come to delve back into tech! I'd had a few good, hard talks with my colleagues Nico, Roger, Joska, Stef (and many more), who recommended that I take a look at Red Hat's certification track. Red Hat offer a number of Linux certification exams, each of which are practical in nature: you don't just tick boxes on a multiple choice test, you actually have to prove that you can do what it takes. Their guidance proved invaluable!

Architect and Project Lead at ${CUSTOMER}

F. and G. took a gamble when they hired me into their project. They had a specific, technical need and needed someone to quickly figure out how to design and build what they wanted. At the time I lacked practical experience in the field, but I was confident that I could figure things out pretty quickly. The gamble paid off and I built not one, but three of the technical infrastructures in their project. But still, they didn't have to take this risk and I'm very grateful that they did!

So many security bloggers, speakers and podcasters

In IT it's a common joke (or is it a truism?) that it's simply our job to know how to Google things.

It's thanks to those thousands of security and tech geeks out there, blogging, podcasting, speaking at conferences, that most of us can do our jobs! If people suddenly stopped sharing their knowledge and experience, our industry would grind to a halt. What's worse, we would absolute lose any chance we have in fending off attackers from our computer systems.

So I want to thank folks like the Security Weekly crew, like Hacks4Pancakes and Jayson Street. But they're just the tip of the iceberg! Thousands of "smaller" names, people who are not Internet-famous and without huge Twitter followings. I thank you all.

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