Den Jones HNC Computing

There really are no limits to what education and hard work can achieve. At West Lothian College we are very proud to have alumni all over the world having taken their first steps on their career paths with us.

Den Jones is the Director of Enterprise Security at Adobe. Now based in San Jose, Den began his IT career at West Lothian College in 1992.

We caught up with Den to chat about his remarkable career.

“So before coming to college I was walking the streets of Livingston delivering mail for the Queen, The Royal Mail.

I’m a total music nerd and especially when I was younger my whole life revolved around music. One of my best friends had amazing gear and when I asked him how he could afford it all he shared that he worked in IT for Sun in Linlithgow.  That conversation and what he shared inspired me to return to education and begin a career in IT.”

Den applied for the HNC Computing course at the college. Little did he know this would be just the first step on a much bigger path.

“In college I met some amazing people some who I still consider friends to this day. Whenever I am back in Scotland I make a point of meeting with them to catch up in person.  I was also privileged to be part of the student union and was the treasurer for a year; which is crazy as I’m useless with money!

I left college with an HNC in computing.  I never completed an HND or degree although further study is never a bad thing!

I have been very fortunate to experience some amazing career highlights.  I once worked with IBM and BT to deploy the UK’s first VoIP infrastructure in Shin-Etsu.  But the biggest highlight has been travelling the world and ending up here in San Jose in the centre of the tech valley.  I work for one of the largest (and best) software companies in the world leading some amazing teams and most talented people.  I’m actually unable to express how thankful I am to everyone who’s helped me along the way including previous lecturers at West Lothian College although I believe one of my lecturers is still there!”

The story of how Den ended up in San Jose is quite simple as he explains:

“I worked extremely hard, always speaking up and offering to do more and help my boss or company be successful. This led to my boss calling me when he changed companies asking me to join him. Once I got there I worked my butt off to prove myself which opened more doors.

In the end people recognize talent and hard work. I keep my eye out for those traits in my role today.”

Den is quick to point out that while his career has let him travel the world, a lot of sacrifices had to be made as well.

“Of course I have made some mistakes along the way. One of my mentors and bosses once said “Someone who makes no mistakes isn’t working” and that has stuck with me throughout the years.  I’ve worked incredibly hard and made a lot of personal sacrifices to get where I am now.  I miss my family and friends back home and have missed too many life events to mention.  So, while I’m proud of my success, it hasn’t been without a lot of hard work and sacrifice.

However, the Cyber field is an amazing industry filled with crazy people, personalities and stories of how dark the web and world is.  While it sounds depressing, it’s such a rush to be part of an amazing scene and industry.  There’s never a day goes by where I can’t learn from amazing people around the world and realize this field enables anything. I’m privileged to lead a team who is pioneering some industry leading advancements:

      • Zero Trust Networking
      • Eliminating password changes every 90 days
      • UBA using ML
      • Advisory board member for VMWare, Okta & IDSA
      • Presenting at leading industry events like Gartner, CSX, Identiverse and Oktane

There really is never a dull moment.”

Of course it’s not all work and no play. Den hasn’t forgotten his roots and what motivated him to begin his journey in the first place.

“When I’m not working hard at the IT/Cyber stuff, I’ve been releasing records since 1994 – techno, house and trance (Future Nation, Bass Instinct, Ultimate Buss, Urban Punks and of course, Den Jones).”

Finally Den had some sage words for anyone just starting out on their own path.

I guess there a few important things to remember if you wish to be successful

  • Being intelligent is useless if you don’t work hard.
  • You are not the smartest person; the collective team will kick your butt every time!
  • Understand what you are good at and where you are weaker, my attention to detail is lacking so I rely on those around me to cover that deficiency.  That’s fine and why being part of a team helps our collective success
  • Work life balance – It is vital to balance your time between working hard and playing hard – get a hobby, get outside and take time away from the job.  This ensures when you’re back at work you are kicking ass and taking names, prove how much better you are

Finally, walk the walk, don’t talk yourself up and give no end product – Do it! Actions do speak louder than words. It’s easy to weed out lazy people who coast. You are better than that (if you want to be).”