qintel

This cyber security firm was where I spent most of my career and 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 engineer...

pittsburgh

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 new york for rent helped sweeten the deal.

products

When I first arrived, Qintel was predominantly a services based company. Their analysts worked with various organizations to investigate a spectrum of cyber crime activity. They utilized a wide variety of tools in the 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 moved on to add more features and integrate a lot more data into the platform.

We were up to our fourth major iteration of crosslink when I left and have expanded their offerings to include a few tangential products. You can view overviews of them all here.

culture

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. When I left in early 2020, they had grown to 50 employees.

Almost all the initial employees were still on and despite the growth and office moves, the culture had remained the same. The company was relatively flat and virtually every employee who was on board loved what they were working on and actively participated in discussions of what was coming next.

That's not to say we didn't have 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.

a tough farewell

While I enjoyed my work at Q and my time in Pittsburgh, I had moved back to NYC in 2018 with the birth of our first child. Working remotely got old after a few years and my plan coming out of college was initially to bounce around a little more. I wanted to get experience in other industries and learn from new teams.

At the time of leaving, I was the technical lead for crosslink and ui/ux lead for the company. It was tough saying goodbye to my team and the rest of the ballbusters I worked with on a daily basis, but I knew they'd continue to build great stuff without me. The five years I spent there were a hell of ride and I wish everyone there nothing but the best.