A Day in the Life with a Senior Technical Product Manager
At CIS our mission is simple - we want to help identify, develop, validate, promote, and sustain best practice solutions for cyber defense. One way we achieve this is by collaborating with a global community of cyber experts to test configurations, discuss security policies, and implement solutions together. To give our readers a better idea of how it all works, we sat down with Jordan, a Senior Technical Product Manager here at CIS to see what typical day for him is like.
Please share a brief overview of what your job entails.
I manage various technical communities filled with some amazing volunteer subject matter experts (SMEs). These SMEs help create our CIS Benchmarks™, which we publish (for free) to the world. Working to keep products up-to-date and developing remediation and automation content is also part of my job.
How long have you worked at CIS?
Coming up on 7 years in a few months
What education/background do you have that helped you get your position at CIS?
I hold two degrees, one in Electrical Technology and Computer Support and another in Computer Networking. I’ve been working in the IT field for about 17 yrs. I also have a strong background in customer support, which has really helped expand my roles here at CIS. I started out at CIS on our IT team, as a Senior Network Administrator. I helped keep our internal systems secure, while also working with our CIS Benchmarks team. I came over to the CIS Benchmarks team almost 4 years ago to help create new benchmarks and support CIS’ mission.
What are 5 daily tasks you do as a Senior Technical Product Manager?
- I do outreach via social media and direct contact to build partnerships with SMEs and Vendors.
- Review the edits that our CIS Benchmark editors add to ensure it meets our internal standards and prepare documents for publication.
- I test CIS Benchmarks to ensure systems still function properly and validate that our checks are correct within the benchmarks.
- Each day I have meetings set up with my editors to talk about each benchmark that is being worked on, making sure we cover open tickets and new feedback so that we meet our target release dates.
- I collaborate with my team and various colleagues throughout CIS.
What is your favorite part about being a Senior Technical Product Manager?
I have a couple. The first is that I am able to work with some amazingly awesome and super smart people both internal and external to CIS which allows me to learn something new each day. The second is being a part of the creation of CIS Benchmarks. When you sit down and think about it – it’s crazy that folks all around the world use them to secure their systems.
What advice would you give a prospective Senior Technical Product Manager?
If you are a good communicator, enjoy working with others, have the ability to understand the fundamentals of cybersecurity, and are someone who gets excited about helping others then you will enjoy and do well at this job.
If you could describe your job in 3 words, what would they be?
Rewarding. Fast. Exciting.
What is a skill or habit that has helped you in your current role?
A few of them, really. Having my IT background has helped with understanding and providing feedback on CIS Benchmarks. Having customer service skills has helped communication with folks. Attention to detail has also been key in making sure we are putting out solid documentation.
What has surprised you about this position?
How important the benchmarks we create are to our company. The CIS Benchmarks drive a good chunk of our other areas here at CIS and represent one of our core functions.
How would you describe the company culture?
Going on 7 years here at CIS I have been able to witness some great growth with this company. Even when we were a small company we’ve always maintained that family-like atmosphere. The folks that work here at CIS are truly passionate about the work they do, which really shows when talking with anyone from CIS.