August 30, 2012, 12:59 PM — Name: Patrick Harding
Time with company: 7 years
Education: Bachelor of Science in computer science from the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia
Company headquarters: Denver
Countries of operation: U.S., U.K., Japan, Australia, Canada, Turkey, France, Germany, Chile
Number of employees total: 250
Number of employees the CTO oversees: 9
About the company: Ping Identity provides cloud identity security software and services to more than 800 of the world's largest companies, government organizations and cloud businesses.
1. Where did you start your career and what experiences led you to the job you have today?
I started as a software developer in Sydney for a small software company. That company was doing business in and had offices in London and Boston. We were developing messaging software for airline reservation systems. I was spending a bunch of time traveling to where our accounts were -- Tokyo and Mexico and Germany. I also had a chance to work in some of the other offices, so I ended up working in London for a year and Boston for a few years.
Being Australian, just out of college people tend to take time to travel and see the world, so intermingled with that was traveling and backpacking and seeing the world. I spent six months in India backpacking. This was prior to cellphones and just when the Web was emerging. I took six months off the grid and came back and the Web was exploding.
I wound up in Boston and changed roles. It took me into a more IT-oriented environment. I was building the initial firewall and network security infrastructure at Fidelity in the late '90s. That was my first foray into doing security-related stuff.
I went back to Australia to live for 18 months, in 1999-2000, and wound up working at PricewaterhouseCoopers as a consultant. This was one of my toughest challenges and highest learning curves, as they brought me into build out their Internet security practice, which didn't exist. I came in as the subject-matter expert, but also had to train everybody else and go out and find the business and sell the business. It was a very challenging time, but it also molded my customer-facing business-oriented skills. It was actually really beneficial to me without me realizing it.