Talking to our Team about Cybersecurity Careers, on Ada Lovelace Day

Today’s Ada Lovelace Day, and this is a time to highlight the achievements of women in technology, engineering, science, and mathematics, and to encourage girls and women to pursue careers in STEM.

Imperva Enterprise Account Managers, Leanora Weaver and Rebecca Kelly, both members of the Imperva Women’s Council, spoke to some of our colleagues – by Zoom and by email – about their career journey and the future of cybersecurity.

Hadas Cohen, Engineering Manager, Imperva

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and how you came to work in cybersecurity?

Hadas: Hi, I am Hadas, 39 years old. I live in a small village near Modiin in Israel with my husband and three kids. I started my journey in the tech industry around 15 years ago, and I’ve worked in both startups and large companies. I’ve been working in Imperva for the last 2 years, as part of the Product Development organization.

Can you run us through your responsibilities at Imperva?

Hadas: I am an Engineering Manager in the Platform group. Platform group supplies unified solutions for Imperva customers and Imperva developers. My group is one of two groups in Platform, we are developing different services on top of the management console. My main responsibilities are to work with stakeholders and the product team to define our roadmap, mentor and guide the team leaders to execute the tasks to achieve our goals on time, while keeping high engineering standards. I’m there to create the right opportunities and develop the growth path for each of our team members.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Hadas: I love the interactions with the teams. I really enjoy mentoring and learning from them, and seeing their growth over time. I love difficult challenges, that we need to solve, it’s like a puzzle. We have to find the right path while using the tools that we have, or even develop new tools.

Why do you think there are comparatively fewer women in cybersecurity, compared to men?

Hadas: I think that cybersecurity is like a microcosm of the whole high-tech industry and there are still a lot of gaps in the way that individuals act. Most of the companies have programs about inclusion and diversity. Due to COVID-19 most of them also have better work-life balance, but still a lot of the industry are men and people want to hire people like them, so there are less actual opportunities for women. We are working in a demanding industry, and we all want to be the best we can be, and if we don’t have a support system it’s hard to stay in the industry or to achieve the career path that we want. I had to make a lot of concesions during my career because of the children, although I had a good support system that really helped me, but those concesions aren’t possible for everyone or every family.

If you could give someone starting in the industry a piece of advice, what would that be?

Hadas: Don’t give up searching for the thing that makes you happy and you love to do. Learn from every situation, find and keep your strengths, and work to improve your weaknesses. Find someone that you admire and make him/her your mentor. Learn to receive feedback, and to give good feedback to others.

VIDEO: Leonora Weaver speaks with Helena Stark

Lynn Marks, Sr. Product Manager, Imperva

Lynne Marks

Can you tell us a little bit about yourself, your background, and how you came to work in cybersecurity?

Lynn: My name is Lynn Marks, and I am a Sr. Product Manager at Imperva. During college, I studied economics and history and realized I wanted to work in product management during an internship I did during summer break. After university, I worked on Quote to Cash products at Model N as an associate product manager, when I was given the opportunity to work on Distil Networks’ bot management solution. I was drawn to the mission of helping keep regular people using the internet safer from online criminals and how we actually made a difference in people’s lives and online experience. I’ve now worked in cybersecurity for over five years, managing products that protect from bots and from client-side attacks, like Magecart, and I still feel the strong alignment with the mission of keeping the internet a safer place for corporations and end users. .

Can you run us through your responsibilities at Imperva?

Lynn: I’m the product manager in charge of the Online Fraud Prevention solution. The solution encompasses three products that protect our customers’ web applications, APIs, and mobile applications from bots and client-side attacks. My main responsibility is to understand trends in the market, like what our customers need now and in the future, what our competitors are building, and more, so I can prioritize the huge backlog of requests. I create a roadmap and release plans, which guide the engineering teams on which features they should work on and what new value they will deliver to customers. In addition, I work cross-functionally with marketing, sales, support, the technical writing team, and more, to ensure that everyone is trained on the new value/functionality we’re providing and that they have the appropriate assets needed to sell/ support/write documentation/etc.

What do you enjoy most about your role?

Lynn: One of the things I love the most is getting to work with brilliant people who develop and support the product to ensure it’s successful. The engineers I work with make my job so much easier because I know I can rely on them to get the job done and to push me to provide them with the best specifications needed to deliver what our customers need. The marketing team, sales, and others have to understand these very complex topics and problems and then convey the value that the products deliver so that prospects want to buy them – I’m always amazed at what they are able to accomplish.

I also truly enjoy working on such challenging and ever-changing products that truly provide value to the world. Even after working in cyber for over five years, I’m still wowed by how much damage malicious actors can have on a corporation and the end users who use the products/services, and how properly tuned cybersecurity solutions can help fully prevent or minimize the negative repercussions. It’s this never-ending game between the malicious actors and the cybersecurity teams that drives me.

Why do you think there are comparatively fewer women in cybersecurity, compared to men?

Lynn: I believe a lot of this has to do with the university and hiring funnels. For generations, women were frequently told that specific classes, universities, and jobs are reserved for men, thus barring them from the foundation needed to push them into the STEM world. Even though this trend has been changing, and more women are enrolling in STEM classes and working in more technical positions, it will take some time before we can close the gap, unfortunately. Furthermore, I don’t believe that girls or young women have many role models of very technical women working in cybersecurity, or similar fields, which could discourage them from being interested in the field or from getting more mentorship.

How would you describe the current opportunities for women in cybersecurity?

Lynn: I believe women have every opportunity in cybersecurity as the complex problems being solved benefit from having a diverse workforce so that we can approach each problem from as many angles/viewpoints as possible. Furthermore, cybersecurity has many less technical roles that women coming from less technical backgrounds can access, like marketing, training, and lots more. This means that women interested in the field but don’t want to go into engineering can still have a real impact on the industry. Overall, I think every woman interested in solving interesting and impactful problems should look into the cybersecurity industry for roles and growth opportunities.

If you could give someone starting in the industry a piece of advice, what would that be?

Lynn: Find a cybersecurity topic/problem where you can empathize with the customers, and you find it interesting. Working on these complex problems, where malicious actors are always trying to undo the gains your team has made, can be tiring and demotivating. It helps to work on a topic where you fully believe in the mission and can find motivation during tough times.

I also believe that women entering the industry must reach out to other women in their company (or even in other companies through Linkedin) to get advice on how they got into the field, how they advanced their career, and how to deal with difficult situations. where they might feel out of place in the male-dominated space. Building this community will help the newcomers feel more like they belong and have support during difficult moments and career moves.

VIDEO: Leonora Weaver speaks with Cynthia Yin

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*** This is a Security Bloggers Network syndicated blog from Blog authored by Nik Hewitt. Read the original post at:

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