We asked NSWCSN Cyber Ambassador Professor Alana Maurushat, Chair of Cybersecurity and Behaviour at the University of Western Sydney, for her top tips for women and girls considering careers in cyber.
“I would encourage diversity generally from every sector of society to consider a career in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity challenges are complex requiring inter-disciplinary teams from all different types of backgrounds and skills to come together to find solutions – this means we need to foster and recruit more women, those who are neuro-diverse, and from different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds.
Cybersecurity requires difference so celebrate and actively promote these aspects about yourself whether it be the fact that you are a girl who loves lego, are on the autism spectrum, are a renowned video game champion, have firece debating skills, and above all, “That you are a curious person who loves to learn.” Because in my experience there are no boring days in cybersecurity. It’s a full-on job requiring quick thinking, tenacity, perseverance and above all, willingness to dive in, learn, find problems and solve problems as you go. But always remember that failing is part of learning whether you’re at school, university or industry – just because you don’t find a perfect solution first go, you learn from it and keep going, learning, and figuring out ways to solve cybersecurity problems.
If you are interested in Cybersecurity try a hacking competition – people assume that these are only for computer hackers but often these competitions are merely looking for creative thinking to solve a problem. Reach out to a company or person in cybersecurity, tell them that you’re interested in the field. Be pro-active. We love pro-active people who show initiative. In the last 4 years I have hired passionate people who approach me for work, and not the other way around. Lastly, find inspiration from whatever source works the most for you whether it’s a youtuber, musician, activist or a family member. Be inspired and go for your goals.