With the 2016 New Year upon us, I find myself reflecting on the past 15 years of my Information Technology and Security career. Throughout 2015 I read various articles on gender gap, women in cyber security, tips and tricks, but I often ask myself, as women in InfoSec, do we sometimes self-sabotage our own careers?
Reflecting on past job opportunities, interviews I have attended, I think that my personal belief in my security experience, IT skills and self-confidence made me unintentionally undersell myself. I realise that everytime I started a new position, a new challenge, I always start off feeling nervous, scared that everyone around me was smarter, better qualified, had better advice, more experience, and for that, I should accept a lower wage, a lower offer as my role was to learn so I can play in the big leagues. This mindset negatively impacted my ability to produce quality work as I always second guessed myself, comparing myself, not allowing myself to reach my full potential.
Not a great way to start a new position, negative, fearful, thinking you have nothing of value to offer other than to learn and hopefully come up to speed when you have 10+ great years of experience behind you. Just crazy and it needed to change.
Speaking from my own personal experience, I had always thought that the experience of men far outweighed anything I had gained in my career. I was failing myself on my resume and technically under selling myself for someone who was more like an engagement or project manager (not that there is anything wrong with those positions 🙂 but never positioning myself correctly for those key technical security roles which I was thrived at. I always tried to make myself look like an all-rounder, team player, and leaving out key technical qualities and traits which I loved.
Fortunately I have worked for some great leaders in my career that not only believed in me, but personally kicked me into shape and stop me from self-sabotaging my own career. These people saw talent and have pushed me to greater heights, for which I feel truly blessed.
Aligning yourself with mentors and opportunities to learn and grow your talent are important steps in your career. Most importantly we must believe in ourselves and trust ourselves to make positive and great decisions to change the shape of the Information Security landscape.