The cybersecurity industry may sound nerdy and intimidating, but the fact is that it offers a lot of interesting professional opportunities to those who are ready to learn and hone their skills. I am a living example of this.
Non-standard skills are non-issues
If ten years ago, you were to tell me that I would work in a hyper-growth start-up in the cybersecurity industry, I would not have believed you. I had no background in cybersecurity and the roles I had taken up across different industries were not something that could qualify as core skills needed for a role at Arkose Labs. But here I am, despite of—or in fact because of—my varied previous work experience. In fact, this variety became my strength as I had a lot to offer to Arkose Labs.
Being a woman with English as my second language were no deterrents to my joining Arkose Labs in 2017. My youngest child was only 18 months old at the time. I took up a multi-faceted role at Arkose Labs and I can say that I have grown with the company.
Wearing many different hats in the early days helped me hone my skills that I was best at and enjoyed the most, which was helping the Product team develop a superlative product. These varied roles gave me deeper insight and a greater understanding of our product and how we can refine it. Over these years, I've become the go-to person for the Arkose Enforce component of our Product, helping shape its future development, and sharing my expertise in many different ways.
Bridging the gender gap
There is a gender imbalance across industries and the cybersecurity industry is no exception. Men outnumber women by a great margin, as not many girls are encouraged to take up science and technology as careers. However, it's not always about the standard skillsets of the cybersecurity industry that matter—you can always learn them, the way I did. It is about being determined to excel at whatever you do and add value.
Given that there is an obvious gender imbalance across industries, we must make efforts to bring about gender parity at workplaces. For example, providing women with flexible work-from-home policies can be especially important when trying to attract mothers into the team. I remember during my early days at Arkose Labs, the WFH policies weren’t that flexible. Therefore, COVID-19 has, in a way, provided that slight nudge, which has resulted in Arkose Labs now having a great WFH policy. This is making it easier, especially for women, to juggle both full-time work and raising young kids.
Diversity is super important and beneficial to a company as a whole. Women bring an alternate perspective that can help arrive at better solutions to a problem at hand—a solution that works for everyone. Nearly every day I see evidence that it's directly beneficial to our product. We design a product that must work well for all sorts of people from all over the world and from all walks of life. Being a woman with a fair bit of cultural awareness, I strengthen both diversity and cultural awareness at Arkose Labs, which helps improve upon the features we are trying to build in our product.
Women need to know there is nothing scary about the cybersecurity industry and that they will only add value by being part of this dynamic industry. If I can do it, so can you!