"I remember the first time I thought about getting into the tech industry and one thing that kept me from pursuing that dream was the fact that I felt that it was a male-dominated field. I am not surprised to say that it is, but there are many women like myself that are fighting to find there way in and make a name for themselves. This group aims to support all women in tech whether they are gay women, black women, trans women, latina women, or any other nationality or identification out there. We are providing a safe space for women to learn and find resources from others to grow within their careers. I believe that if women have the means and support to succeed, they will almost always be successful." - Khalilah (TechSecChix Founder)
I am a third year student pursuing a Bachelor's in Information Security and Assurance and the founder of TechSecChix. I decided to create this group as a place for women in tech to have a safe space to connect and network with one another. Working in a male dominated field can be overwhelming at times and my goal is to connect other women just like me, with resources and support to help them continue to push through and thrive. I am currently working as an Security Compliance Analyst while I continue to learn and grow in the Infosec field. I have always had a fascination with gaming and technology, I am happy to finally be working in my dream career.
Computers and technology have always been an interest of mine, whether I was building and refurbishing computers or learning how to repair and salvage electronic devices. This curiosity has led me to return to college to pursue a degree in Computer Information Systems (Cybersecurity Concentration). Every day I work towards developing an understanding of the vulnerabilities that allow bad actors to access our information and build the skills necessary to defend against them successfully. Learning cybersecurity is a journey that has no end. Things are always changing, and while that may seem daunting to some, to me, it makes this field of study even more inviting. I look forwards to growing my skills and achieving success with everyone in TechSecChix!
My initial interest in Technology began when I joined the Polytechnic Institute at Purdue University. I remember discovering how much of an impact Technology could play in my field in the coming years and I knew that I had to learn more. I recall attending a Convention and observing the technology that they were developing for the construction industry. My most fond memory is of the holographic home models that the owners could run their hands through and change. These sorts of experiences lead me to want to remain constant within this industry, as I feel that it can grow not only myself but others too. My reason for joining TechSecChix is to uplift women like myself. This group gives me the tools to inspire women to pursue this industry and become successful.
My professional background started in retail. After I graduated with my A.A. degree, I continued to work with my local college bookstore as a bookseller, then eventually becoming the assistant manager. Working there for about 8 years really developed skills that I didn’t think would transfer into tech. After a lot of hesitation and seeking out advice, I decided to go back to college for my B.A.S. in Technology Development and Management with a concentration in Cybersecurity last year. As someone new in the field, it has been a journey finding out what interests me, studying for the Security+ exam, and narrowing down roles that would fit what I ultimately want in a career in this industry. It’s thanks to this and the general tech community that I’m able to find motivation to continue to learn and hopefully, ultimately, I can return the favor.
My name is Mary, but I sometimes go by my
gamer tag RavenBallad (or Raven for short). I
started my IT career in help desk support
after getting a degree in Mass
Communication and finding my interest to
be more in the tech/infosec side of things. I am currently working towards my network+ and trying to give back to the community that I have learned so much from and continue to learn from every day.
Like so many others, my journey into the technical industry has been interesting. I was not sure what I wanted to do after high school, and I could not afford college at the time. My friend’s mother was a VP at a bank and helped me get a job as a bank teller. I have been in the financial services industry every since. I became a credit underwriter, first working for a car loan company and then student loans. I realized that I would not move up in my career without a college degree, so I decided to go to school. My original goal was to pursue a degree in fraud. I was primarily interested in financial fraud or insurance fraud. I received my A.S. in Criminal Justice and enrolled in the Cybersecurity program at Utica College, with a concentration in Cybercrime and Fraud Investigations. I quickly realized that I preferred the cyber courses much more than the fraud courses, so I switched my concentration to Network Forensics and Intrusion Investigations. I recently completed the program and received my B.S. in Cybersecurity from Utica College. I look forward to continuing to improve my skills and meet new people. I hope to inspire others and show that it is never too late to figure out what you want to do.
I know I am not the first to say that my journey into tech was not traditional. Now that I think about it, I could say that it was quite traditional ha. Up until a year ago I did not have an interest in tech. (I mean I have always been involved with computers and could take one apart in my head since I was a young girl but for whatever strange reason, I never thought of pursuing a career in it.) When I was younger, I was led towards a career in criminal justice which I pursued while working in the automotive business A few years ago my boss at the time convinced me to form a professional online presence to expand my network. Well, that is when my mind began to wander. For some reason my network continuously recommended people in the tech industry and I could not comprehend why. After a few days of searching various career paths within the tech field I decided that this was my true path. There were so many opportunities available that I had been completely unaware of.
So here I am. I am still a noob. I have no idea what I am doing. Every day I am learning new things. In the past few months my network has grown substantially and I have “met” so many great people that have taught me so much! Now I am studying for the CompTIA A+. Within the next few months, I will begin my studies for the Security + and it will be to the moon from there! I am incredibly excited for this journey and all that I am to learn. This path I know will not be easy but this is what I am meant to do!