What advice would you provide to a women thinking about a career in cybersecurity & technology?
If you want to work in cybersecurity, I’d advise several things. Firstly, set your goals and develop a strategy as to how you’ll fulfil them. Typically, this will involve deciding on how ambitious you are, how hard you want to work, what area of cybersecurity you want to specialise in and finally obtaining training and certifications. Nowadays there are plenty of training courses and some are free. However, be aware that most hiring managers like to see certifications from recognised accreditation companies such as EC Council, ISACA, GIAC, (ISC)², CompTIA, Offensive Security, Mile2, EITCI, eLearnSecurity and CREST.
Secondly, work on your personal brand and become visible. Your objective here is to become known and recognised for the work you do and to also attract mentors and sponsors. In the course of your career you’ll need both as they’ll support you in achieving your career goals. Mentors are people who’ve done what you want to do before you do. They offer advice and guidance by sharing their knowledge. Sponsors are advocates in positions of authority who’ll use their influence intentionally to help you advance. Essentially they’ll help you get a job or a project.
Thirdly, network. You’ll need to do this in an authentic way and that means knowing how to pitch and sell yourself. It will require you to be tenacious, to grow a thick skin, and not to take things personally when people decline to help or don’t help having promised to. Everyone is busy nowadays and most people have the best intentions in the world to help you, and then life gets in the way.
Are there any particular challenges that you have personally faced in your cyber career?
Yes. The biggest challenge was to do with my penetration testing firm. It involved a separation from my common-law husband and business partner. The whole affair tested me to my core and there’s a story that involves overcoming adversity. Unless I’m presenting on adversity, I rarely talk about it now, as I’m focused on the now. Aside from this I’d also mention juggling motherhood and full-time work. Having worked as an entrepreneur for most of my career, and being a single parent with three children, I’ve found it more practical to work for myself and manage my workday around my family and clients. The work gets done, my clients are happy and I’m there as a mum to my children.
What are current diversity employment and training initiatives missing?
Most organisations don’t have diversity employment and training initiatives. If any do exist, they usually involve a company diversity and inclusion network (or women’s network), mentoring, unconscious bias training, or a return-to-work initiative. These are all good but more need to occur and when they do the organisers need to think about their objectives and set SMART goals.
Are your role models found within or mostly outside of your industry?
Although I value role models, I’ve never needed a role model in order to believe I could do anything. I’ve not needed to see a woman do a job in order to think I can do it too. There are men and women whom I admire and they’re all outside of cybersecurity. They’re not gender specific either and will vary from actors, musicians, journalists, educators, to businessmen and businesswomen.
About Jane Frankland:
Jane Frankland is an award-winning entrepreneur, author, speaker and consultant. She is also one of the top 50 influencers in cyber security in the UK. Jane has nineteen years worth of experience in the industry, has built and sold her own global penetration testing firm, Corsaire, been an SC Awards Judge for Europe and the USA, and held senior executive positions at several large PLCs, including the NCC Group. Over the years she has been actively involved in OWASP, CREST, and the Cyber Essentials Scheme, and has served as a Board Advisor for a CISO forum with over 170 senior cyber security leaders.