This cyber security firm is where I've spent most of my career and, at this point, a pretty significant chunk of my life. After almost taking a permanent role at fitch ratings, I bumped into one of my highschool friends who had gone to the University of Pittsburgh. He had gotten into cyber security and was one of the first developers at this small company. And as chance might have it, they needed a ui/ux person...


Pittsburgh, if you aren't already aware, is a bit of a hub for cyber security. Organizations like CERT and the NCFTA make it a primary location for conferences and other events.

I moved here early in 2015 to start the new job. It was a terrible time to move as the weather was in the single digits for the first week I was there. After a couple weeks things smoothed out a bit and paying less than half of what I would've in rent for a beautiful apartment certainly helped sweeten the deal.


When I first arrived, we were predominantly a services based company. Our analysts worked with various organizations to investigate a spectrum of cyber crime activity. They utilized a wide variety of tools in space to uncover and map out abusive schemes, identifying the actors and technologies involved.

One of these tools was built in-house and offered users the ability to search through a highly targeted set of forum data. My initial assignment was to build a graphical user interface around the ReSTful API and CLI tools they already had already started constructing. This work made the tool more accessible for non-programmers and we have since added more features and integrated a lot more data into the platform.

We're up to our fourth major iteration of crosslink and have expanded our offerings to include a few tangential products. You can view overviews of them all here.


One of the most interesting aspects of being here has been watching and participating in the company's growth. When I first I came on, there were only about 15 or so in-house employees. At the time of writing, we're now almost at the 50 mark and still growing.

Almost all the initial employees are still on and despite the growth and office moves, the culture has remained the same. The company is relatively flat and virtually every employee who's on board loves what they do and actively participates in discussions of what's next.

That's not to say we haven't had growing pains though. Going from 15 to 50 presents a number of challenges, e.g. keeping things focused and finding a balance between efficient processes and too much bureaucracy.

what's next

Only time will tell. We have some cool new products in the works and more features planned our existing ones. On top of that, I'm sure we'll be adding more team members. I'm now the technical lead for crosslink and ui/ux lead for the company so a few of the new faces will likely be joining my team. Onboarding is always a challenge but I've come to like teaching and explaining ui/ux best practices.