Is IT security solely a man’s world? International Women's day 2019

Blog post March 8th 2019 - International Women's day 2019
Is IT security solely a man’s world? Is it challenging for girls/women to stand their ground in the mostly male dominated IT world? Why should girls/women work in IT security?

In honor of International Women's day, we asked these and more questions individually to a female security specialist and a female software developer working at Secura, as well as two of their male colleagues.

Kaloyan Velikov versus Ena Kurtović

kaloyan

Kaloyan Velikov, Security Analyst at Secura.
I like learning new skills in information gathering, exploiting systems and escalating privileges, to have access to multiple cool gadgets and software tools, and last but not least the amazing people that are part of the community. The world of IT security looked much more vibrant and appealing than the creation of yet another web shop or corporate website.

ena

Ena Kurtovic, Security Analyst at Secura
I like challenges, learning and competition. This career is just about that: Every job is a challenge: you have to learn in order to complete it, and it is an eternal race against technology and maliciousness of humanity.

Women bring fresh ideas, different thinking and approaches which is a good change in a male dominated environment. This can only lead to diverse end results which will keep the IT world improving and going forward. - Kaloyan Velikov

David Ureba Moreno versus Ellen van Leeuwen

David Ureba Moreno, Junior Software Developer

David Ureba Moreno, Software Developer
I'm able to develop software while putting the focus on security from the beginning to the end of the production process. I get a lot more opportunities at an IT Security company like Secura compared to other (larger) companies and areas.

Ellen van Leeuwen, Junior Software Developer

Ellen van Leeuwen, Software Developer
What I like about this field is that you can built software from scratch and see it evolve into something beautiful and something that really adds value. This value can be for clients and also for my own colleagues and I like improving their experiences and making lives easier with our tools.

Do you feel it is challenging for girls/women to stand their ground in the mostly male dominated IT world and why?
Kaloyan: It is true that the IT world is mainly inhabited by male employees, but this is slowly going to change. More and more females are interested in working or studying in the IT sphere which will eventually balance the workforce. The best part of the IT sector is its approach towards the employees. People are evaluated by their knowledge, motivation and behavior and not by gender or race. Moreover, employees are supporting each other and all challenges are solved together without any prejudice.

Ena: I honestly do not believe that gender plays a role in standing your ground. Your expertise is what gives you value, and a steel stance that holds even in the most quaked grounds.

David: Absolutely and I don't really know why. I found the same at university and security events, the average was 4-5 women for 200 men and now I can see the same at work. I cannot understand why in the 60's and 70's the majority of mathematicians and computer science people were woman and now we can see the opposite. Maybe we have to put the focus on the IT, computers and video-games ads campaigns?
Having a look at this we used to see only male target.

Ellen: I personally don’t think so, at least for me it’s not. I do, however, have a very assertive personality and will handle myself quite easily. I do miss having more female energy around me though, because it does give a slightly different dynamic. Guys often act differently around girls, but in our company it’s not that prevalent (anymore). I can imagine that girls and women might be scared to enter the IT world because of the male dominance. Males often think they are for example better than females (even though they generally aren’t), or at least they are more outspoken about their ideas and might get people that are less outspoken (more often females) to be quiet and withhold from voicing their ideas. Being assertive is definitely a good personality trait to have or work on improving if you want to work in this field.

Why should girls/women work in IT security?
Kaloyan: I believe that the employees that work in IT security must be interested in this specific branch. If the person is eager to work and develop in this environment he/she must be supported all the way, no matter gender or race.

Ena: Everybody should work in IT security. I could write a whole essay right here on where this world is going and how technology is changing, or better said, becoming us. You may call me paranoid, I'd preferably label myself as aware. The more you know, the more you consider using a candle instead of a lightbulb. Since that is quite inconvenient in this instaworld, the other option is knowledge.

Plus, the field of security is so vast, the opportunities are amazing, we definitely need more troopers in our lines. A final word of wisdom: Being free is having a choice - that is, as many as you can. This field gives you that for sure.

David: Because they are as capable as men.

Ellen: Because it is fun! I can only talk about software/product development, so here is my take on that field. In product development you can really be creative and create new things from scratch. You start with something workable but possibly ugly and eventually you make it prettier and easier to interact with. It isn’t all fun of course, nothing is. Bugfixing is definitely the most annoying part of the job, but the relief and happiness you get when you find the solution is definitely worth the effort! And the effort gets reduced by the fact that there is a massive online community of developers and hobbyists that you can always turn to to figure out how to fix bugs if you and your colleagues can’t find the fix.

Aside from that, you learn a lot from creating software by researching online, asking questions and getting other's take on tackling problems. It’s not just coding and sitting behind a computer all day, it is also important to talk to people, to figure out the right questions to ask to get the answers you need to make a good design and a usable product.

What do you feel we need to do to make this specific field of work more interesting for girls/women?
Kaloyan: I can say that the IT sector is the most advanced employer from all, and this can be seen from the attitude and benefits it provides to the employees. With this being said, I believe that no specific actions have to be taken; however, quality and interesting projects must be present to catch the attention of prospective candidates.

Ena: Change the parents. Change the education system. Give teachers more status and power, to attract individuals capable of influencing and bringing up the young in an manner unbiased with historic ideologies.

David: In general, women don't want to study/work in tech areas (for some reason I cannot understand).
Maybe they have to see more female presence in flyers, promotional videos and information.

Ellen: I’m not really sure, but what got me into this field was basically an EXITE Summer Camp hosted by IBM at the age of 13. That camp provided science challenges and programming missions for LEGO robots to girls in a fun way. For me this triggered my interest into this field and I think it's one of the great initiatives out there to get more girls into science and technology fields. Other than that I think it’s a good thing that women speak about their (technical) studies, about their work and how they got into it. And lastly, we need to think of ways to show how fun and versatile this field is and I think this blog is one of the ways to do that.

IT is a field in which you can show your ideas, creativity and skill easily and it is even required to do so. So don’t be shy, just be yourself, create awesome things and show all the guys that we are just as good if not better than them! - Ellen van Leeuwen

So ladies, let this day inspire you to get your geek on and join the fun! Check out our vacancies here.

@ Secura 2019
Webdesign Studio HB / webdevelopment Medusa