“Do what is right even when no one is watching.”
I got into cyber – through my time as a law enforcement officer. As a Detective, I worked on many types of investigations, and criminals began to hide their evidence in computers, servers and cell phones. This is where my curiosity for digital forensics began. I was then nominated by my local US Secret Service office to obtain training and learn about digital forensics and incident response at the National Computer Forensics Institute.
What I thought I wanted to be when I grew up – was a police officer. I was in elementary school when, for the first time, I saw a female police officer. Seeing her is what inspired me to become a police officer. No one ever said women couldn’t be police officers, but my child brain automatically assumed it. This is why representation matters! I am grateful for the skills I learned while in law enforcement. It allowed for a smooth transition into the corporate world. Now I use my detective skills in the cyber world to identify how an attacker got in and help organizations recover from incidents.
Something few people know about me is – I am the child of an immigrant parent and was raised with assistance of the US welfare system. I have acknowledged the importance of sharing the struggles because representation does matter. Growing up, I did not know any women or women of color in leadership positions, let alone know an executive or professional previously on welfare. I learned early on that I was responsible for my future and understood I would have to work twice as hard. But knowing that others existed who have gone through the same struggles and succeeded would have been a relief.
My top tip to those interested in transitioning to a career in cybersecurity is – learn and read as much as you can on the different paths of cybersecurity. Find a path that intrigues your interest and pushes you to want to learn more. Choose a path that you consider fun and exciting. If you are still in school, consider a cybersecurity degree. For people transitioning from another career, find people who are currently performing that role and network with them. Ask questions about how they got into the role, what type of classes or training courses you should take and from what institutions. Look for organizations or associations you can join that allow student members to attend meetings, events, and network. Ask someone if they will mentor you.
I would tell my younger self – Dream bigger! Do not hold back. Push your limits.
The quote I live by – “Do what is right even when no one is watching.”