Three individuals using their smartphones while seemingly unaware of the potential data and privacy dangers nearby.
I belong to the first ‘digital native’ generation. As a Gen Z, I do not remember a time where I did not have access to Amazon or Google or was not anticipating the latest Apple smart phone launch. I am part of a generation that was born with technology at our fingertips. My generation has taken to social media, to make careers, to spread awareness, and build an online global community. However, that is not without its consequences.
Online identity thefts, phishing attempts, ransomware attacks, and much more are at an all-time high. Therefore, Cybersecurity Specialists are needed now more than ever before. My journey into the realm of Cybersecurity was unexpected. While I had always liked the idea of being an Ethical Hacker, a career that I ignorantly equated with the glamorized Hollywood version of the job, I never knew where to begin, how to begin, and if I was even capable of doing it. However, our Security Practice Lead, Bill Jones, and my wonderful Security team at Softrams have made my transition into the world of Cybersecurity, less daunting.
I would like to share a few tips for Cybersecurity beginners, that I have learned from my month-and-a-half experience of this career. The best way to get started in a new career is to get hands-on experience as soon as possible. Cybersecurity is a broad career field with positions ranging from Penetration Tester, Security Engineer, Cryptographer, to Security Analyst, Cryptanalyst, and Security Consultant. Internships are the best way to decide what career within Cybersecurity you want to pursue. Here at Softrams, I have been shadowing my fellow team members on their daily tasks. My colleague, Srinivas, took me through how an AppSec is conducted with the Burp suite tool and explained how to report on vulnerabilities, through Bulwark. My other colleague, Nick, went over how security documentation is done and shared his experiences as someone on the policy side of Cybersecurity. These are experiences that I would not have received if it were not for the supportive Softrams work culture. Additionally, in order to supplement my Softrams’ hands-on experiences, I completed an online Certified Ethical Hacking study course. This has given me background knowledge on ethical hacking and has prepared me for the CEH certification that I hope to complete in the future. Studying for such certifications is important as this is a constantly evolving career that requires you to be a flexible and inquisitive. The online educational tool, Burp Suite Academy, can also be used to learn the concepts through interactive labs.
As helpful as the tips above are, none of this would be as effective without the support of my incredible team. From the lighthearted morning stand-ups to Bill’s encouraging one on ones, from my partnerships with other team members to the company-wide, informative brownbag sessions, I am so amazed by Softrams’ work culture. I have spent a little over a month at Softrams and I have learned so many new concepts, have made connections with each of the team members, and have stepped out of my comfort zone to learn and present a new topic at my own Brown Bag session. My internship, thus far, has been informational, challenging, and exciting. I look forward to performing my own AppSec and reporting it on Bulwark. I look forward to applying this knowledge in the college classroom as I continue my education as a Sophomore at the University of Southern California. I look forward to presenting and learning more advanced concepts in the evolving field of Cybersecurity. I am so grateful for this guidance, here at Softrams, and hope to share many more Cybersecurity experiences with you all in the near future.