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International Women’s Day: breaching the barriers

News   •   Mar 12, 2020 11:29 GMT

To celebrate International Women’s Day, we asked a group of colleagues globally to share their top tips for women hoping to get back into work, and others looking to take up a career in cyber security.

Looking to be inspired? Check out some of the best advice we have to offer…

Kat Sommer, Head of Public Affairs, London:

Never think: "Ah never mind, cyber isn't for me.” Instead, think: "what can I do that the cyber world needs more of?"

A mistake made too often by too many people, is to dismiss a career in cyber because they didn't play with computers in their bedroom aged five and onwards.

The cyber security sector offers a multitude of varied career paths and roles for people from all backgrounds – from deeply technical specialists, to anthropologists, psychologists and governance specialists. Before dismissing the world of cyber, speak to people who inhibit it and forge your own corner, path and role in this wildly crazy, always evolving, and certainly never boring field!

Zina Manousaki, Team Leader, Denmark:

There has never been a better time to pursue a career in cyber security, as this industry is constantly struggling to counterbalance the shortage of talent. The idea that certain roles are stereotypically male are getting debunked more and more, so do not feel intimidated.

If you are interested and motivated, study hard, practice and develop your skills, look for internships within companies that can foster your growth, and let your curiosity and your passion drive you.

Cara Christofi, Marketing Manager, Sydney:

The best advice I can give for women looking to return to work after a pause in their career, is to try and find a company that meets their needs. It may take a little longer, and be a little disheartening along the way, but I’ve found great positions that have advanced my career while giving me flexibility and work-life balance.

It’s important to set expectations and boundaries right from the beginning – I can’t stress that enough. It has to work for yourself and the company.

Lydia Lavender, Managing Consultant, Milton Keynes:

Be brave and believe in yourself. Returning to work from maternity leave has been scary, as well as exciting.

I love my job so much but after leaving it for motherhood for a year, it has been daunting coming back. I keep asking myself “have I forgotten everything”, “will I remember how to complete a report” and “will anyone remember me”. Of course the answer is “yes” but I am questioning myself and even more critical than I was before.

BUT everything is great – on my first day back I was welcomed with open arms and within just a few minutes of chatting about privacy my auto pilot kicked in and I was back to my old self. I really think that this industry needs more women, and so it’s important to believe in yourself and go for it – you can manage a career and a family too, we are all super women!

Michelle Barry, Director of Product and Development, Leeds:

The best advice that I would give to any woman in any scenario, is to never forget your value, and the value that you bring to every conversation, every team meeting, and every organisation you work at.  

Never apologise for being smart, or for having high standards. Be the person who shows up, and most importantly, (and I cannot stress this enough), be a person that delivers.Seek out people that you can learn from, respect, or who will give you honest feedback. Keep them close and, keep learning from them. If you’re looking to pursue a career in cyber security, all I can say is do it! It has been genuinely mind blowing, working in an amazing industry, with such talented people.