I got into cyber – I got into my first 100% cyber job through Share the Mic in Cyber. It’s a campaign set up to help increase the voice and reach of Black cybersecurity practitioners. After my first year of participation, one of the Allies posted to the email distribution group that they were hiring pentesters so I applied and interviewed with the same guy and was hired. I had been in the tech space with cyber responsibilities for years but I credit STMIC with my official cyber start.
For me, a positive cyber mindset is – As cybersecurity professionals, our job is to hope for the best and prepare for the worst. We’re expected to be able to consider the worst that can happen and figure out a plan to make sure that we mitigate the possible damage. A positive cyber mindset is having a positive attitude, belief, and values that even though we plan for the worse, we have prepared our teams to be able to successfully mitigate those threats.
What I thought I wanted to be when I grew up – was an engineer but when I got into school that changed and I decided I wanted to be an ER Doctor. I finished my computer engineering degree and then went on to do premed and got a master’s in healthcare. Once I finished school, I got a volunteer job as an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) and began applying to medical school. My experience as an EMT (aversion to blood and way too much empathy) combined with my failure to get into medical school both led me to join the “real world” and enter the realm of healthcare IT consulting. I did software testing and quality assurance and realized that while I didn’t like making software, I definitely liked breaking it (and spoiler alert) breaking into it.
What I most want to be remembered for is – making a difference in people’s lives. For encouraging them to believe that they can do anything including take over the world. I tell my team at BlackGirlsHack and our members to shoot all shots with the hopes that it will get them to step outside of their comfort zone and dream bigger. Maya Angelo said that people will forget what you said, they’ll forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel. I hope that I’m remembered as someone who helped them achieve the impossible.
My top tip to those transitioning to a career in cybersecurity is – to stop making excuses and start today. Give yourself 30 min to an hour a day and work on achieving a new skill. Get in the gym. Practice. People tend to make every excuse for why they can’t change their careers. I’ve heard everything from “I’m too old to start over” “I can’t afford to start over” and “I don’t have the time” and my response to all of those is to not think about it as starting over. Think about bringing your skills, and your experience to a new role with a cyber focus. Position yourself to make a lateral move and slide on over into cyber.
What do you mean by world domination? – World domination for me is about living your best life with the time that you have. We only get one life and I’m a strong believer that we should do what makes us happy, and if your job or your career isn’t making you happy, I believe that you should find one that does. World domination is about fighting for change, reaching back to help those coming behind us, and doing everything we can to make sure we leave a lasting impact on those coming behind us.