Devo recently hosted a live panel discussion with cyber leaders across industries to celebrate Women’s History month. The group acknowledged progress made, addressed remaining challenges, and shared resources for advancing or breaking into the cybersecurity industry.
Devos’ own CISO Kayla Williams hosted the panel along with:
- Naomi Buckwalter, Director of Product Security, Contrast Security
- Samara Williams, Senior Manager, Security Engineering
- Kyla Guru, CEO, Bits N’ Bites Cybersecurity Education
Listen to the full discussion or read highlights from the event below.
What are we getting right?
The group agreed that a lot is going well for women in cyber. There are more women joining cyber each year. Even though women still make up only 25% of cyber roles, this is growing thanks to all the grassroots organizations dedicated to introducing women and girls to cyber at a younger age.
What challenges remain?
The panel acknowledged that despite the improvements, there are some sticky challenges for women. One of the major challenges the group all agreed on was that convincing the non-believers has always been a challenge. Oftentimes the people who participate in women’s events are the people that are already bought in. The real inroads really occur in the “quiet conversations” that happen in between meetings, in the hallway, or in Slack.
Career tips for students and career changes
No matter where you are in your career, you don’t need a security degree to work in cyber. Kayla is a perfect example of this. She studied accounting in college–a far cry from the traditional career path into cyber leadership.
Current students should consider participating in competitions that will provide real-world perspectives and experience. The many rising professional communities on LinkedIn are also great so you can start building your network.
And for those who are looking to break into a cyber career midway through their careers, resources like the SANs Institute are wonderful because it serves as a repository for lots of various resources. It will even take your current skill set and provide lists of possible career paths.
Once you are in a role, there are ways to set yourself apart. Think of unconventional relationships you can build cross-departmentally with teams such as finance or human resources. Ask yourself what they could be looking for or expecting from the cyber organization? It could just be the opportunity to educate and build the relationship too.
Takeaways and resources
No matter where you are in your career, the resounding advice from the group was that getting ahead in cyber is difficult, but it is possible. Say yes to things, do something you’ve never done before, and believe in yourself.
The group ended the discussion by sharing some examples of other inspiring women in Cyber. Give them a follow on LinkedIn:
The various resources and websites referenced throughout the panel are also captured below:
For high-school/college students:
Listen to the entire webcast for more conversation and tips, and happy Women’s History Month!