Alumni Corner: Jake Reynolds

Tell us about your work at NetSPI.

In layman’s terms, I work for a professional hacking company. A lot of large organizations hire us to test out their systems. Hopefully, we are successful in doing so and we tell them how we broke in. We usually are testing tens and hundreds of thousands of their computers in their company.

What is your main role and responsibilities?

My role is Head of Emerging Technology. My job is to build tools that help our hackers hack better and help our customers understand their security posture better. My platform is called Attack Surface Management. It scans the internet for millions of IP addresses for our customers and it will tell them when something changes. If a company launches a new website, we determine if that website is vulnerable and could be a problem.

What are the biggest lessons you have learned in this position?

It’s a scary world out there! You need to make sure you have technology that works for you; you shouldn’t be working for your technology. Adopt technology that multiplies you as a human being. You shouldn’t be buying technology that you have to spend all day tracking. What are the new and emerging technologies that can help you versus the technology that has been around for a long time that complicates your life. 

What brought you to the University of Minnesota?

I grew up in Bloomington, Minnesota. I went to Jefferson High School and was a member of the marching band. We were modeled after the University of Minnesota marching band. That’s what introduced me to the U of M. So I applied and got into the College of Liberal Arts for a B.A. in computer science. It was an amazing campus and I loved the resources they provided.

How has the U of M helped your career and personal development?

For personal development, what I really like about the University of Minnesota is that the instructors taught me how to teach myself. They gave me the proper tools so that I could teach myself different concepts that arose later. That taught me the necessary skills and strategies to expand my knowledge. It was really nice to have that framework.

What are your next steps in your career?

I peaked very early in my life! I’m doing exactly what I want to do. That’s why I love the solutions we build. Finding new technologies to secure computers has always been a fascination of mine. Chat GPT and AI is going to massively transform what work means to people. So I’m looking forward to seeing how that evolves in the next several years.

Anything else you’d like to add?

Go Gophers! And join the marching band! But I do love the personal projects that I was able to do at the University of Minnesota. I do a lot of hiring and interviews for my company. Internships and work experience are valuable. But, I also put weight on the personal projects. I almost look at personal projects in a higher light than internships. It shows you have taken time to learn on your own and that you love that you do. You have that creative spark to take initiative. And it’s great experience. It’s a great way to get ahead.