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Nevertheless, She Persisted... And Got a Job!

caffiendkitten profile image DaNeil C ・4 min read

5 years ago I wouldn't have imagined being a Security Consultant.
In 2016 I was studying Information Technology and taking interest in Security Engineering.
In 2021 I start my career as a Security Consultant.

My most recent achievement was…

Like most stories of finally making it, it's been a long road to get here. I've moved twice, lost a 19-yo loved cat, got 2 new butthead cats, got a degree, started a coding bootcamp, finished a coding bootcamp, got rid of a ex, found a new love, and quit a job I really enjoyed.

It's all coming to a peak in April because this month I signed the contract.
woot woot

My biggest job related goal is…

My biggest job related goal has always been Getting a job without asking for one/help.

I know... it's crazy talk right?!
I've always heard that "it's all about who you know in tech because they will be the ones hiring you," but I never wanted to ask someone I know to hire me or ask my bf to have one of his friends hire me.

I've always gotten any job I've had on my own; so for me, getting a job this way felt empty and petty. It felt like networking wasn't about making a real connection with a potential colleague or have an interest conversation. It felt like I was collecting connections like Pokémon Cards to later try and get them to hire me and this never sat well with me.

That being said, there is nothing wrong with asking for help when you need it. We all struggle in our own ways and I just wanted to achieve this own my own. No one will help in an actually interview and I didn't want to fill my LinkedIn with random recruiters that were 5+ connections away from me. I wanted to focus on what I was learning and let the work speak for itself.

Advocating for myself looks like…

Previously, I have always had to work a full time+ job and then go to school. I never felt like I was really making progress except getting a degree.

Before I started dating this guy I had already decided to take the leap and start on this path. I had quit my job and started a coding bootcamp. Since the beginning he encouraged me to take time off of retail work so I could actually study (and helped me study) to change careers... er. well, start a career.

I took full advantage of this and treated (almost) everyday like a job and studied more than I had before. CTFs and conference on weekends, any conference talk I could listen to during the week, Network+ training, Security+ training, and having bf quiz me on OWASP Top 10 topics.

My advice for allies to support folks who code is...

I was reading recently that Women make up 20% of the Cyber Security workforce, but I'm a web app penetration tester... and these numbers are even lower.
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A recent open survey I found polled 400+ people in cyber security and only 28 respondents were women, with a total of ~39 were non-male. 6.9% of 400+ identified at women.

If these numbers are even a kind of ok representation of women in my field I'm admittedly a bit sad, but this doesn't surprise me. Though I've met a few women hackers/pentesters locally, of the people that I know personally in cyber security no one ever mentions women on their red team. I don't blame anyone for this, nor do I think people should hire a women/non-male to simply have equal representation of genders on his team. Though it is important to have a more diverse collection of humans to share ideas and different views, I (personally) have the same opportunity/ability to apply for a role as anyone else with a computer; and if a male has more skills than me I would expect them to get hired over me. If a cat has more skills than me I would expect them to get hired over me.

My advice for allies is to create more roles for new people and take more chances on people that might not be 100% yet, but are on the right track. You might be surprised how hard they work to hold their own and make the risk worth it.

The next steps for me

I start a job soon and I need to keep it.
I need to keep up my studies and hold my own.


Happy Hacking
Happy Hacking ^_^

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