Michael Taggart's Journey in Education and Information Security

In this episode of the Phillip Wylie Show, hosted by SCYTHE Director of Services and Training, Phil interviews Michael Taggart, the founder of the Taggart Institute. Michael shares his background in teaching and technology and how he transitioned into the field of information security. He discusses the importance of accessible education and the mission of the Taggart Institute to provide affordable learning resources. Michael discusses the benefits of content creation, learning in public, and the equipment and tools needed to get started. He also underscores the value of diversity and the importance of responsible red teaming.



The Value of Sharing Knowledge

Michael's journey in cybersecurity education began as a self-taught enthusiast. He recognized the power of technology in education and became passionate about teaching students using the internet as a resource. As he transitioned from teaching to security analysis work, he realized the need for accessible and affordable education in the field. This realization led him to create the Taggart Institute, a platform that offers courses and resources for individuals interested in cybersecurity.

"We're attracting a lot of like-minded folks who are more interested in sharing content than necessarily getting richly rewarded for doing so." - Michael Taggart

The Rewards of Content Creation

While content creation may not always lead to financial gain, there are numerous other rewards that come with sharing knowledge. The exposure and brand recognition gained through content creation can open doors and create opportunities for individuals in the cybersecurity industry. Additionally, the act of teaching and creating content can be a valuable learning experience in itself.

"Teaching is a fantastic learning mechanism. When you teach others, you have to put your thoughts in order, which can reveal gaps in your understanding." - Michael Taggart

The Taggart Institute: Making Education Accessible

The Taggart Institute was born out of Michael's desire to provide affordable education in cybersecurity. The platform offers a range of courses, from introductory topics like Python and Linux command line to more advanced subjects like web application security and binary exploitation. The courses are priced at a low point or even offered for free, ensuring that finances are not a barrier to knowledge.

"We want to make sure that everybody on Earth has access to the information, that finances are not a barrier to knowledge." - Michael Taggart

The Role of Content Creation in Career Development

Content creation can be a powerful tool for individuals looking to launch their careers in cybersecurity. By creating and sharing content, individuals can demonstrate their knowledge and skills to potential employers. It also provides an opportunity for individuals to learn in public, showcasing their problem-solving abilities and their ability to overcome challenges.

"Learning in public is incredibly valuable. It allows others to see how you navigate through problems and learn from your mistakes." - Michael Taggart

The Tools and Setup for Content Creation

When it comes to content creation, having the right tools and setup is essential. While the specific requirements may vary depending on the individual's needs, there are a few key components to consider. A good microphone and camera are important for producing high-quality audio and video content. Additionally, using software like OBS (Open Broadcaster Software) or Stream Elements can help with streaming and recording.

"A good microphone and camera are essential for producing high-quality content. However, the specific tools and setup may vary depending on individual needs." - Michael Taggart

The Importance of Choice and Diversity in Tools

In the cybersecurity field, there is often a debate about the best tools to use. However, Michael emphasizes the importance of choice and diversity in tools. Different tools work better for different individuals, and what may be the best tool for one person may not be the best for another. It is essential to find a tool that you are comfortable with and that meets your specific needs.

"As long as you are deeply familiar with a tool and it does the job for you, that is what matters. It is more valuable to have choices than to pick a side in an Internet debate." - Michael Taggart

The Evolution of Tools & the Benefits of Competition

The cybersecurity tool landscape is constantly evolving, with new tools and features being developed all the time. This evolution is often driven by competition between different tools. Each tool brings its own unique approach to solving problems, and this diversity of options benefits the industry as a whole. It encourages innovation and ensures that no single tool becomes a monopoly.

"Diversity is good in all senses. Diversity of people, diversity of opinions, and diversity of tools. Monoculture is dangerous." - Michael Taggart

The Need for Responsible Red Teaming

As the field of cybersecurity continues to grow, ethical considerations become increasingly important. Responsible red teaming involves conducting penetration tests and red team engagements in an ethical and responsible manner. This includes ensuring the security and privacy of customer data and following best practices for operational security.

"Responsible red teaming requires a focus on ethical considerations and responsible handling of customer data. It is important to prioritize security and privacy in all engagements." - Michael Taggart

The Future of Cybersecurity Education

The power of content creation in cybersecurity education cannot be underestimated. It provides a platform for individuals to share knowledge, learn in public, and launch their careers. The Taggart Institute is leading the way in providing affordable and accessible education in the field. As the industry continues to evolve, it is crucial to embrace diversity and choice in tools and to prioritize responsible practices in all cybersecurity engagements.

"The future of cybersecurity education lies in accessible and affordable learning opportunities. By embracing diversity and responsible practices, we can create a stronger and more inclusive industry." - Michael Taggart