I got into cyber – through a mentor of mine that recommended I join a new research and development program centered around cyber red teaming almost 4 years ago. Despite having no prior knowledge of the field at that time, I joined the program and have since been thoroughly engrossed in the cyber world. As I delved deeper into the program work, I quickly noticed the intersection between cyber and my prior analytical work in open-source intelligence/behavior analysis. During this time, I started pursuing a master’s in Applied Information Technology which bolstered my technical skills and cyber knowledge. While initially entering this field somewhat by chance, I’m extremely happy with my progress and contributions in the national security space.
For me, a positive cyber mindset is – all about creative problem solving. This industry requires you to continuously have a learning mindset by being creative, curious, adaptive, and optimistic. The challenges faced in the cyber industry are complex yet rewarding as they require constant innovation and adaptation to new devices, infrastructure, data, and techniques emerging on a regular basis. Having a positive mindset to adapt to these changes in new creative ways is pivotal.
My top tip to those interested in transitioning to a career in cybersecurity is – to let your creativity lead you. The scope of the cyber industry and the amount of cyber training material available can become overwhelming. I recommend picking a focus area and when topics that interest you come up, chase them down the rabbit hole. Be intentional about spending time in areas that are interesting and engaging to you. The cyber industry is vast, so it makes sense to define your own path within it.
My recommended read is – between the Remembrance of Earth’s Past series (The Three-Body Problem) by Liu Cixin and the Stormlight Archive by Brandon Sanderson. I’m a huge fan of Science Fiction and Fantasy in general because it gets you accustomed to thinking creatively and exposes you to futuristic problems (even if they are not always realistic).
Something few people know about me is – I coach high school girls’ lacrosse at a local high school every Spring. I love watching the girls grow over the course of each season and being there to guide them towards their goals. I’m impressed each year by their generosity, commitment, and positive attitudes – they continually demonstrate the power of showing up for each other. A few of the team-members have even taken AP Computer Science classes; I’ve selfishly tried to sell them on entering the cyber field down the road!