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I got into cyber by forging my own unconventional path into cybersecurity, coming from a background in environmental science. Early in my career, I was doing hazardous material cleanup and after a long day fraught with danger, mostly caused by my co-workers, I decided to make a change. Problem-solving has always been one of my strong skills, so I used that trait and started a new career as a PC tech. From there, my IT career started leading to cybersecurity. I started learning all I could related to IT and found some good mentors to assist me.

For me, a positive cyber mindset is – about empowering people to find the best solutions. This means looking for talent in non-traditional areas for cybersecurity, investing in training programs that help potential recruits develop the necessary skills for the job, and creating a positive work environment where employees feel encouraged on their path, no matter their level of knowledge or background.

My top tip to those interested in transitioning to a career in cybersecurity is – to be curious and willing to learn about things outside of your comfort area. New things are hard, and that’s ok, but if you have a natural curiosity and a willingness to put in the effort, cybersecurity is a career field that anyone can succeed in.

My true calling or what I thought I wanted to be when I grew up was – to work in environmental conservation, ideally being a park ranger. And to that end, I have a bachelor’s in environmental science. While that may seem far afield from my career today, I have taken with me lessons from that discipline, such as looking at things with an eye toward sustainability, in how I approach cybersecurity.