GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
By signing up you accept the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy
BROWSE CATEGORIES
GET EMAIL UPDATES FROM POWERTOFLY
The Canadian Women in Cybersecurity conference attracted some 500 attendees. Howard Solomon photos
Juniper Networks, Inc.

"Don’t accept ‘no,’ women who want careers in cybersecurity can get one, says Juniper Networks exec"

Below is an article originally written by Howard Solomon, a Freelance Writer for IT World Canada, and published on March 11, 2020. This article is about PowerToFly Partner Juniper Networks. Go to Juniper Networks' page on PowerToFly to see their open positions and learn more.

Samantha Madrid's path to becoming vice-president of Juniper Networks' security business began in high school when she was told, 'no'.

It's not uncommon for women to be told no, particularly those trying to build a career in IT and cybersecurity.

Samantha Madrid, Juniper Networks

She told several hundred at the Canadian Women In Cybersecurity conference Tuesday in Toronto that over the years, "there were a lot of 'nos' that I learned to navigate."

But this particular one galled her. It came from her high school guidance counsellor.

Coming from a poor home in the U.S. and raised by a single mother, Madrid had told the advisor she planned to go to college. Among her dreams were becoming a business executive, a trial lawyer or a lobbyist arguing for people who didn't have a voice.

"You may want to take a different path," the counsellor responded. "Not everybody is meant for college."

Madrid refused to accept that.

"I remember thinking I wasn't a bad student, but I was a decent student. I was varsity on the debate team, I was co-captain of the swim team. I was very competitive.

"I was shell-shocked. I was devastated. I went home and cried all night long.

"And then I got angry. And this was the point that defined who I am. Because I got so angry at her I said, 'I'm going to show her that she is wrong.'"

These kinds of experiences aren't unusual for women, or some men, Madrid said. "You can either let it define you or let it motivate you."

It's easier to be a woman in cybersecurity today than it was 30 or 40 years ago, the conference heard. The profession and related roles, like risk managers — are still overwhelmingly male. Women still account for only 10 per cent of those in cybersecurity jobs in Canada.

But there are some bright spots. One speaker noted a recent global report last year by the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, (ISC)², a non-profit which specializes in training and certifications for cybersecurity professionals, found women in cybersecurity are younger, boast more education and are moving into senior leadership roles at higher rates than men. And while they are paid less than men, the gap is less in younger age groups and for women in senior positions.

Millenial-aged women making more than US$100,000 have overtaken their male counterparts.

The conference featured a number of Canadian women who hold titles like vice-president or team leader in IT or risk management. Many recalled being the only woman in a networking class or on their first IT team. Most said their managers were supportive.

But they also talked about the need for women in IT to find a mentor, be more assertive in their careers, to look for opportunities for promotion. To say yes.

Madrid's message was that obstacles — you need a certification, you can't do that job — can be part of a career path.

She offered these five tips:

  • Be introspective. Be honest with yourself: Have you put in the effort, or is there a way to get around that obstacle? Didn't get a promotion? Did you really deserve it? It's easy to blame people for things that don't go your way? Ask what you really want, be it in career or marriage. "Once you figure it out you do everything you can to make that happen." In fact, when she interviews candidates for jobs she asks, 'What are your blind spots?' I don't like writing so I partner with people to give me the confidence so I can write."
  • Everything is a choice. Everything in your life is the result of the choices you made. You may not have chosen the situation, but how you react is within your control. And choice that allows you to overcome that obstacle. "Often when we hear no … we think there is no path."
  • It's not always about you. In a poor performance review, or someone was disrespectful, whatever, there may be more at play. Try to understand the other person's point of view. "Early in my career, I was on a successful team … I wanted to make sure I was best on the team … It was always about 'me,' And she was bounced from the team for not being a team player. I realized that was 100 per cent my own doing. And I never made that mistake again."
  • Be adaptable. You will never be able to predict happens tomorrow but if you have the ability to adapt you are invaluable. "If someone says 'no' you have to be able to pivot around that. It does not mean you're goal wrong and you're not going to reach your end destination. But you may have to bob and weave, you may have to take an alternative path. Have your goal, but be flexible on your method."
  • Trust your gut. That's the number one thing that derails people from achieving their goals. It's why people who hear no step back. It's why she didn't step back when the counsellor suggested she shouldn't think about going to college. Or when people suggested going to a company whose reputation had fallen wasn't a good career move.

By the way, after graduating from college Madrid worked for a U.S. state senator and didn't like it. Along the way she picked up some aptitude for computers, so when a friend told her Cisco Systems was hiring, she read books about networking so was prepared and applied. And once she was hired took some certification courses.

"You have to believe in yourself. It doesn't matter the obstacle … At the end of the day, you are your only cheerleader and you are the only person who will make it or break it."

The conference was organized by SiberX, a Toronto-based training and skills development platform.

popular

How These Companies Are Celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

According to a recent study, anti-Asian hate crimes have risen 150% since the pandemic started. But these acts of violence are not new — they are part of a much larger history of anti-Asian racism and violence in the U.S.

That makes celebrating Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month (which was named a month-long celebration in May by Congress in 1992 "to coincide with two important milestones in Asian/Pacific American history: the arrival in the United States of the first Japanese immigrants on May 7, 1843 and contributions of Chinese workers to the building of the transcontinental railroad, completed May 10, 1869") this year all the more important.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less

5 Things All Product Managers Should Do for Their Engineers (And Vice Versa)

Tips from SeatGeek's Anuja Chavan

When Anuja Chaven turns on a fan in her house in Jersey City, she can't help but think about how every piece of it works.

"There are an extensive amount of things that have to go perfectly at the same time," says the former engineer (and current product manager at live event ticketing platform SeatGeek).

It was that interest in understanding how things actually worked that drove Anuja to study engineering—first electrical, during her undergrad in India, and then computer science, during her master's program in the U.S.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Pluralsight

The Secrets to Balancing Work and Family Life

3 Pieces of Advice from Working Moms at Pluralsight

Being fully committed to work and family is a challenge that many working parents have to take on. It can be exhausting and thankless pursuing a fulfilling full-time career, while taking an active role as a parent. Achieving a healthy balance can help keep you motivated and productive at work, while allowing you to be fully present when you're home.

We recently chatted with working moms at technology skills platform, Pluralsight, about their best advice for striking that elusive work-life balance. Here were their key points:

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
Plex

How to Make the Most of Being on a Growing Team: 3 Tips from Plex’s Adriana Bosinceanu

When the startup Adriana Bosinceanu was working for got acquired, things changed fast.

She went from being one of eight engineers on a small team building a streaming service to joining a company that was five times larger and had a much bigger scope.

That company was Plex, where Adriana has been working remotely as a software engineer for the last four and a half years.

As her team grew from two people to ten, Adriana decided to lean into the opportunity to grow; along the way, she found herself deepening her technical skills, her self-confidence, and her relationships. We sat down with Adriana to learn exactly how she did that, and to hear the tips she has for other engineers experiencing growth opportunities on their team.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
popular

What These Companies Are Doing to Celebrate Juneteenth 2021

*Updated on June 17th, 2021 to reflect Juneteenth officially being named a Federal Holiday in the U.S.*

Juneteenth has been celebrated by African-Americans since the late 1800s, but in recent years (particularly in response to global protests over police brutality and the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and other Black Americans), there has been a surge in interest in the day that celebrates freedom.

Before it became an official federal holiday, many businesses shifted toward marking June 19th as an annual company holiday, creating different initiatives around the holiday and offering employees opportunities to learn, reflect, and take action toward racial equality.

READ MORE AND DISCUSS Show less
© Rebelmouse 2020