Life@ Elastic | Haran Kumar: From community member to Elastician

Want to know what life at Elastic is like? You've come to the right place. Hear from our Elasticians first hand as we highlight their stories and photos from around the world. In this edition, Haran Kumar shares his passion for open source, and the inspiration and professional development he gained through the Elasticsearch community before being recruited to join Elastic.

Learning never ends. I apply this concept in both my professional and personal life, and when it comes to information security, I’m constantly striving to learn and improve my knowledge. In fact, it’s this drive to learn and grow that led me from being a part of the open source community to joining Elastic.

Experience before Elastic

When I joined my first employer right after university as a campus recruit, I was informed of the various IT operations taking place there. I was fascinated when security was explained to me — the various tools like network intrusion detection, virus protection, and the way security professionals hunt for malware and attackers. What I found really exciting was how security tools and projects would connect me with real world use cases.

Haran Kumar

Haran Kumar.

After that introduction, I volunteered for all the security domain trainings offered during my probationary period, and from there leapt into my security career. I was fortunate to work with great people at the company, and play around with various security tools from a wide array of vendors.

As I worked with these tools, I began to realize that because the software I was using was closed;I was offered fewer learning opportunities and a narrower scope of work. I saw a lot of possibilities beyond using closed software and I wanted to explore those options to improve my abilities as a security professional.

I began to develop my knowledge of open source solutions outside of my day-to-day tasks with self-paced, online courses and by taking certification exams. I also started to make connections outside of work by talking to people online, going to meetUps, and attending conferences focused on security.

Exploring resources outside of work was my first chance to play around with open source software. I’d always had the ambition of creating something on my own, and as I explored open source, I saw the possibility of making this ambition a reality. Elasticsearch was a starting point for this. I started exploring and following projects built on top of Elasticsearch, and the adoption of it within the security community fascinated and motivated me to try some of my own projects using Elasticsearch and other open source tools.

Community collaboration

When I started exploring Elasticsearch on security use cases, I found there was a large community ready to help. I was intrigued that a single search product was used in so many different ways. For example, some people used Elasticsearch as a data lake for log collection. Some folks used Elasticsearch as a centralised threat hunting platform by integrating it with various open source tools. There were also people creating network security monitoring platforms with Elasticsearch as its heart. I also found that various commercial security products used Elasticsearch under the hood because of its speed and scaling capabilities.The possibilities seemed endless.

Haran at a community event.

I began working on projects during weekends and after office hours. I was fascinated with the Elastic community and the people who contributed to Elasticsearch through the open source collaboration, and with how people adapted Elasticsearch differently. Seeing how they worked, and how they plugged into the Elastic Stack helped me learn how to to do introduce various open source integrations for security projects at my job, and also enabled me to share that knowledge with my teammates. When I didn’t know an answer, the Elastic discussion forum became my go-to-place for my queries.

After working on my own projects for a while, I shared a blog post about SIEM rules and alerting with Elasticsearch, and created a Threat Intel Project using open source intel feeds with Elastic Stack at its heart. Today it’s in the development phase.

Joining Elastic

This great experience with the Elastic community not only gave me the knowledge and self-confidence I needed while developing my skills, but it was also the reason I was ready to take the call when I was approached about a job opening with Elastic.

Haran at the APAC Solutions Architects team dinner.

Interviewing at Elastic was one of the toughest and organised interviews I’d had so far in my career. Luckily, during one of my interview rounds, I was scheduled to talk with an Elastician I admired, who I had also met during one of the Elastic meetups. It was great to hear that he and other Elasticians were familiar with my open source projects, and it put me at ease. It was great to see how closely Elastic collaborates with the community. Whenever the next Elastic interview would be scheduled, I was excited and nervous. Luckily, at every step, there were familiar people that I followed in community and security field. The idea that I would work with such great minds gave me so much confidence. My experience in the community gave me the knowledge and experience necessary to get this role!

Life @ Elastic

It is always a big decision, often with mixed feelings, to change organisations, roles, and locations. Luckily, the transition to Elastic was easy. The people are awesome, talented, humble, and passionate about things they do. Beyond the people, I am inspired by the vision of the company for the technology and our business model.

Haran giving a presentation.

It feels great to have moved from being an Elastic fan as a community member to becoming part of the team. Here at Elastic, I don’t feel like an employee working just for the end of the month paycheck — I see myself growing as a professional and as an individual as I do this important work.

And the learning doesn’t end. I am encouraged by my mentor here at Elastic to continue my open source projects, because being able to scratch that itch of contributing back to the community works for the greater good.

The culture and the Source Code of the company puts my comfort as an employee first and makes me feel at home. With the distributed nature of work, it is the trust that my team and Elastic has of their employees that drives me to work harder, while also working in a more efficient way.

Connecting with people across various sectors, helping customers to address their security needs, and being part of their architectural needs makes my career even more fulfilling as a security enthusiast. I am proud to call myself a fan and, now, an Elastician.

All the learning, inspiration, and the help of so many people have had an incredible impact on me and my development. I just want to say thank you! I believe we are in this together, and I know there is so much more we will still do!

Interested in finding other Elastic fans like you? Join the Elastic community and meet us on the Elastic{ON} Tour. We’re also hiring! Check out our teams and find your fit! Want to read more about life at Elastic? Read more on our blog.

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