My Experience as a Woman in Tech/Cyber

When I was first starting out in tech, the term “cybersecurity” had a lot of different meanings to me. I imagined large-scale attacks on big businesses that stole valuable information, ransomware attacks involving large sums of money, and people in oversized black hoodies in dark rooms searching vigorously for their next victims.

In my mind, I never saw myself as someone who was capable of stopping these types of attacks. I was armed with a few fundamental certifications, but nothing that I thought would stop hackers in their tracks. It dawned on me that I needed to find a way to “break into” the cyber field.

To start, I needed to learn the basics of securing a company’s assets. I knew I had to find a way to protect those around me locally before I could think about remediating worldwide attacks. LinkedIn was my friend when it came to understanding the cybersecurity field, job market, salaries, and different areas within cyber that a person could specialize in. I asked a lot of questions and documented my journey to find the right path for me.

Eventually, the CEO of a local cybersecurity startup reached out to me and was impressed with my ambition to learn and drive to succeed. We went through my skill set and came to the conclusion that I am fluid with breaking down tech jargon to non-technical people. Additionally, explaining concepts such as different cyber attacks, finding vulnerabilities in systems, and demoing cybersecurity software for new users was a peak point for me. As a result, my title as an Information Security Analyst was created and my newfound passion for cybersecurity awareness was born.

My experience so far has been so diverse because I work with different cybersecurity companies and learn about the products and services they offer. I use my computer to run quality assurance testing, and once I am competent in the software I am able to train, demo, and globally manage the software for end-users around the country. Every day I learned something new, and had the chance to remediate potential attacks and educate users. Within my newfound career path, my goal is to bridge the knowledge gap when it comes to cybersecurity.

More technology is being used in different aspects of our daily lives, but unfortunately, a lot of people are not aware of the continuous evolution of cyber attacks and things they should be watching out for. I would like to make cyber awareness videos that are easy to understand, memorable, and are resourceful, without being longer than 5 minutes.

I believe cybercriminals can be local, and people should still be safe, even when on their home networks. To be successful in this line of work, you have to ignore what the statistics say you can’t or shouldn’t do, and challenge anyone who says you aren’t qualified. Learn as much as possible and use your newfound knowledge in every facet of your job and life. Document your journey and talk to other seasoned professionals as well. Get in the game so you can win the game.

Breaking into IT/Cyber roles should not be a secret, nor should you limit yourself to other people’s opinions or thoughts. Secure the job, secure the bag, and secure your future. PERIOD!

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