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Developing Global Cybersecurity at Intel Poland: A Talk with the Director of Software Engineering

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Having a job in which you constantly develop new skills is possible! Take it from Jarosław Dobrzański, director of Software Engineering at Intel Poland. We recently spoke with him about the technologies his teams work on, the importance of cybersecurity and why he believes in starting your career with an internship.


Please tell us what you do at Intel and what was your career path like? 

I lead the organization that supports Intel’s Security Transformation. We architect, create and enable solutions that increase the security of Intel products. 

I started at Intel in 2014 as an engineering manager. But my career as a software engineer had started several years before. I am an IT graduate of the Gdańsk University of Technology. In addition to programming for my own needs, I started to gain professional experience during an internship at Wirtualna Polska (a Polish website; horizontal portal of the WP Group). It was a big thing for me—and my first real work in the profession I had studied for. It was a breakthrough for me to be able to tell my friends they were using the features I worked on, and actually show it in the browser. 

Another interesting turn in my career was still at university. I engaged in a project that the university did in cooperation with a research institute in Ireland. As a result, I spent six months working in Ireland in an international environment and finished my master’s thesis there. Looking back, I see that I graduated as an engineer who already had real work experience. I strongly believe that an internship is a great opportunity to gain experience, build a network and broaden your perspective. And it's a great investment in yourself, in an easier start.


Can you tell us more about the business group you manage? 

I lead Intel Product Assurance & Security (IPAS) group in Poland, and more specifically one of its divisions, Security Software & Services (S3). Outside of Poland, S3 has employees in several locations, including the United States, India, China, Israel and Ireland. Our mission is to activate security features on Intel platforms, build trust for them and cultivate security across the company.


What exactly does your team at Intel do? 

In Poland, we work on multiple projects. One of them is confidential computing, with technologies like Intel® Software Guard Extensions or Intel® Trust Domain Extension. Confidential Computing introduces new security paradigm into the space of protecting data. It brings hardware protection of data that is in use. That’s another huge step beyond what we’re used to already, which is securing data in in transit (with HTTPS) or in storage. It really changes the landscape of what is possible in the world of data centers. In fact, while cloud service providers adopt Confidential Computing, a whole set of new use cases and solutions can be deployed in public clouds. That includes financial or healthcare solutions, where data must be protected not only from other users of the shared infrastructure, but also from its administrators. 

Another technology we work on is Intel® On Demand. It allows to dynamically adjust the infrastructure in data centers to best suit evolving workloads and new use cases. These on demand capabilities will give Intel and its customers a new way to upgrade hardware features real time, after the platform has been launched or deployed. It’s a huge thing! 

Still in the data center space, we enable new features for Intel® FPGA devices (accelerators). We make it possible to provision them with sensitive data in an untrusted environment, and to verify if a FPGA device is legitimate and in a good state. 

Aside from data centers, we also support security features for client platforms. For instance, we provide a mechanism to remotely recover the secure state of a platform. Here, again, we need a very secure connection between the platform and the cloud-based backend to deliver sensitive app-specific secrets. 

And we do more. We have a couple of teams that support security transformation in Intel. We create products for Intel engineers that give them the ability to ensure that only secure code is checked in to the source code repository and thus any solution that’s created in Intel is secure. We ensure security of the supply chain for software, providing Intel teams easy access to the latest third-party components that are tested for security vulnerability. 

Last but not least, we're one of few teams across Intel, globally, who do DevOps in public cloud. We not only create backend services but also deploy them to public cloud service providers and provide them to customers with an agreed service-level agreement. For that to work, there’s extensive automation, support mechanisms and procedures.


That’s really a lot. It's amazing how many areas are addressed by your business group. 

Yes, indeed, it’s quite a lot and impactful. Additionally, as part of cultivating the security culture at Intel, my team leads the security transformation of Intel in Poland through the prism of well-organized activities. We added security to Intel Poland’s site strategy and strive to instill a security-first mindset.


It's great that you share good practices. Few probably know how many people are involved in the development of cybersecurity. Tell us how it happened that you deal with cybersecurity in Intel globally and in Poland? 

Over the last few years, Intel has been transforming from a hardware company into a company where software and solutions are equally important. Now, both hardware and software must be of good quality and must be secure. Pat Gelsinger, the CEO of Intel, said that delivering products that are not secure is immoral. What a strong statement from our CEO! It really shows the impact and importance of what we do. Intel wants to provide solutions that make navigating the world of technology safe. Everything happens online these days. Financial transactions, data exchange… it must all be secured.


And what technologies do you use? What languages? 

We develop software in various languages, adapting to the needs, expectations and possibilities of each project. We create software that works on a platform, written for instance in C++. On many projects, we create backend services that are deployed to public cloud service providers. Here we use mostly Java, but also Node.js or C#. We use SQL and NoSQL databases. And lots of automation in the background: compilation, unit tests, security scans, automatic functional tests, automatic deployment of the test and production infrastructure locally and in the public cloud and automatic releases. As you see, we have specialists in multiple languages.


You are somewhat polyglots. You speak many languages while working on one project. 

That's true. Of course, each engineer has their own preferences. Some prefer to work with one language and master it. Others may prefer to go wider, work on projects where there are more languages or technologies. It’s often about how deeply and widely someone wants to use and learn a given technology.


Who are you looking to hire on your team? 

At the moment, we're looking for dozens of people, for practically all of our projects. In general, we’re looking for software engineers who know Java or C++, security and DevOps. So quite a lot of requirements, but it doesn't mean that a candidate must meet all of them. I’d say that what’s important to me is a passion to learn and solve problems working as a team.


Are you looking for more experienced employees or can people who are just starting their careers join you as well? 

We are looking for interns, juniors and seniors. We try to build diverse teams where team members complement each other. For instance, people with less experience have a chance to learn from senior engineers. Employees with more experience have a chance to solve problems at their level of expertise while supporting the development of others. Multiple people on my team share knowledge and experience via conferences and delivering or creating trainings.


What do you value most working at Intel? 

What motivates me is the ability to work with people and through people. It gives me great satisfaction to see how much my team is doing and how they grow at the same time. Some people started their careers with us many years ago as interns, and today they solve complex technical challenges or are in managerial roles. I do my best to support them on their diverse paths.


Your group, IPAS, has the biggest number principal engineers in Intel Poland. Could you tell us more? 

That’s true. In IPAS Poland there are four principal engineers, which is an impressive number. It’s worth emphasizing that principal engineer is not only a title that shows strong technical expertise. It’s also a recognition of leadership and impact on Intel and the industry. So, it proves how great a driving force is our organization in Intel Poland, even though we are far from Intel’s headquarters in the United States.


What do you like to do after work? One does not live by work alone. 

Honestly, I can’t complain about an excess of free time as I have a job which I’m passionate about and a big family. An important aspect of my life is sport. I like to get up early in the morning at the weekend and go for spin on a road bike. I switch off my mind, stop processing data. Doing sports helps to clear my mind.


What do you wish for? 

I want to keep the current trend—see how many cool things happen in my company and in my team, how important and necessary is the work that my team does. And what strong support I get from my team. I’d like to continue to end a day or a week feeling that I’ve learnt something new. 


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