International Women's Day 2021: Brittany O’Shea, Veracode
This is part of a running series for #IWD2021. We sat down with women leaders across the industry for a Q&A to get their insights on the state of women in cybersecurity. Recognize Women Leaders in the 2021 Tech Ascension Awards.
Brittany O’Shea, Senior Product Marketing Manager, Veracode:
How has the women workforce in cybersecurity evolved over recent years?
We often see the statistics on lagging growth of women in cybersecurity, and the lack of formal training programs within the industry, creating a barrier to entry. As a result, I don’t think the experience of being the only woman in many rooms is unique. That being said, tremendous progress has been made to create a more inclusive environment, such as investment in girls in STEM programs and industry emphasis on broader recruitment. After nearly a decade in the cybersecurity industry, I am excited and optimistic to see more women in leadership and technical roles. I feel honored and proud to have the opportunity to work under the guidance of a female CEO and female executives, as well as alongside many talented women and male advocates. As the industry continues to challenge what it means to support women in security, I believe education and redefining corporate culture to encourage cross-departmental career growth will be critical for progress. What advice would you give to young women looking to enter into cybersecurity? One of the biggest barriers to success that I have witnessed is self-doubt, or a mission for perfectionism before trying. Rather than focusing on all of the areas where you lack technical knowledge or experience, your job is to recognize your gifts and share them. This starts with letting go of fear about not understanding or feeling like you know the least. Lead with curiosity and challenge yourself to read and expose yourself to new topics or ideas daily. When you don't know where to start, have the courage to ask the hard and ‘silly‘ questions. Cultivate a network of mentors and peers to help you in this pursuit through internal networking or local meet-ups. Lastly, remind yourself when it feels hard, it’s likely because it is hard! The fun of the cybersecurity space is that it is constantly changing and we’re often trying to solve complex problems for the first time. That is what makes this career so dynamic and exciting.