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Interviews with Women in Cybersecurity

Read Q& A Interview with Women in CybersecurityCareers in Cybersecurity is taking opportunities to sit down with women in cybersecurity to hear about their motivators, drivers and advice they would give to other women in the industry. Check back frequently for new interviews and partnerships with cybersecurity companies that focus on women in cybersecurity.

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In an interview with Heather Kingsbury, Cyber Security and Privacy Consultant at PWC, she shared her experience in building a career in cybersecurity. She has been in the industry for almost 5 years. Below you can learn more about Heather and her experiences in cybersecurity.

So far my journey has been great. I have been fortunate enough to have held several cybersecurity jobs over the past five years, which have all helped me to become successful today. I have found that it has been quite a bit of work, but I have also found that I have a passion for cybersecurity along the way. It has definitely been quite noticeable that there are mostly men in the field, but that has honestly not bothered me and it has never made me back down from pursuing a career in the field.
My current responsibilities include working on security projects for large clients. Throughout the course of these projects, I mostly work on penetration tests, static and dynamic code scans, and security architecture reviews.
Academically, I have a Bachelors in Cybersecurity and Forensics, a Masters in Cybersecurity and Forensics, and another masters in Cybersecurity and Intelligence. Along with the CEH and CISSP certifications, I feel as though these have fueled my professional success and allowed me many opportunities within the cyber industry.
All of them. I know women who are very technical such as developers and penetration testers, and I know other women who are more high level in the industry such as directors of security programs.
Cybersecurity is a demanding profession. Work life balance can sometimes be challenging, however I have found that most companies understand the challenge and allow many flexible options such as working from home, working flexible hours, or working less during the week and making up time on the weekend.
The industry is absolutely open to working from home. Since the job is based around technology, there are plenty of ways to securely connect from home and conduct your job responsibilities. It really depends more on the company that you are working for and their policies, more so than the role in which you are working.
Most cybersecurity jobs are very demanding, regardless of travel. I have worked both kinds of jobs, and found that since technology and attack vectors are changing constantly, work in the cyber realm is never ending. For the most part, consulting roles are the ones in which you find yourself traveling. Heavy work along with traveling make for long hours. These roles can be more demanding than others due to the travel, however they are also very rewarding and worth it if you are up for the challenge.
I didn’t have much guidance when starting my career. I took it upon myself to find opportunities that would help push me in the right direction, such as clubs, volunteer opportunities, and anything that would give me the necessary experience and/or skill-set to apply for cybersecurity jobs.
Cybersecurity is a demanding profession. Work life balance can sometimes be challenging, however I have found that most companies understand the challenge and allow many flexible options such as working from home, working flexible hours, or working less during the week and making up time on the weekend.
The industry is absolutely open to working from home. Since the job is based around technology, there are plenty of ways to securely connect from home and carry out your job responsibilities. It really depends more on the company that you are working for and their policies, more so than the role in which you are working.
Most cybersecurity jobs are very demanding, regardless of if you are traveling or not. I have worked both kinds of jobs, and found that since technology and attack vectors are changing constantly, work in the cyber realm is never ending. For the most part, consulting roles are the ones in which you find yourself traveling. Heavy work along with traveling make for long hours. These roles can be more demanding than others due to the travel, however they are also very rewarding and worth it if you are up for the challenge.
I didn’t have much guidance when starting my career. I took it upon myself to find opportunities that would help push me in the right direction, such as clubs, volunteer opportunities, and anything that would give me the necessary experience and/or skillset to apply for cybersecurity jobs.
I think a technical degree is the best place to start when trying to build a career in cybersecurity. It’s important to show that you have some sort of technical knowledge. However it is important to note that a technical degree is not a necessity to get into the field there are options for career changers and many great certificate options available.
I think the best way to make a shift over to cybersecurity is to be security conscious in everything that you do. You should be able to show someone at the end of the day, that every decision you made and every step you took was done so with a security process in mind, and to make a product more secure. I also think that being able to go outside of the box and do your own “risk assessment” on what you are working with to show management what they can do to be more security conscious is a great skill to have.
Personally I have also thought that it is important for someone who is looking to start their career in cybersecurity to have some sort of technical skill/background. Whether it is knowing networking, knowing how to develop applications, or knowing the complete inner workings of a computer, it is important to have some sort of technical basis to build your knowledge base from. I think that if you have the technical skills, than you have the ability to back up your thought process and you have a foundation to excel into higher positions that may not require hands on work, but will require the full knowledge of how things work.
If you don’t know already, you should know that yes cybersecurity is mostly a male dominated field. Do not be intimidated by this. Use it to fuel yourself to be successful. You should also know that cybersecurity is a demanding field that may require a lot of extra time and effort, but at the end of the day it is very worth it.
The CISSP is probably the most valuable certification that you can possess in the cybersecurity profession. Unfortunately, this certification requires you to have at least five years of experience along with passing a lengthy exam and having your work background verified. I also want to point out that while certifications are good to have, real world experience is much more valuable. Anyone can study and pass an exam, however having the skills to actually carry out what you study for is much more important to employers.