Shanan Winters is a Senior Product Marketing Manager for cloud security solutions at Fidelis Cybersecurity. She has avid interests in geek topics and fandoms, parenting, and technology. She loves the outdoors,... Read More
When thinking about cybersecurity, what comes to mind? Hacking? Malware? Suspicious emails? All those topics are valid, but there are also many other roles in the field of cybersecurity who help keep us safe from those threats.
Software development, sales, threat researching, HR, services and support, marketing, the executive suite – no matter your passion, there are many ways to apply your skills for a career in cybersecurity. For Cybersecurity Awareness Month, I’m interviewing a few people about their career paths and what keeps them passionate in the fight against cyber adversaries.
Shanan Winters: Why and how did you start working in cybersecurity?
Jankarla Vargas: When I was in high school, there was one other girl besides me in my Computer Science classes. This pushed my drive to pursue a degree in cybersecurity. I knew there was a lot of opportunity, and most importantly, I wanted to help bridge the gap of women in cyber. I immediately fell in love with it after my first course in college and officially started working in the field as a security analyst intern through a program called Year Up.
SW: What excites you about cybersecurity?
JV: The unlimited growth potential and massive opportunity to stay challenged and engaged, all while protecting critical assets and information. Cybersecurity touches everything, and because of that, it’s constantly evolving. That means I’m constantly learning.
SW: What advice would you have for someone considering working in the field?
JV: My main advice would be to focus on getting experience. Put in the hours and gain skills in front of a computer, running lab environments, and learning the tools to build a solid and strong foundation on how computer systems and networks work. Certifications are also helpful for learning concepts, but in many ways, they just prove that you can pass a test. Hands-on knowledge is how you prove you can do the work.
SW: What do you love about working at Fidelis Cybersecurity?
JV: Every day, I get the opportunity to interact, learn from, and even educate so many other cybersecurity professionals. It’s a continual information exchange about our technology and how we help improve security operations. It’s fascinating to hear each person’s security goals and approach.
I also love the people; they challenge me daily to learn something new and improve my skills. Whether it’s about our technology or communication, we work together to engage with and bring value to our customers.
SW: What is something you want everyone to know about a cybersecurity career?
JV: Pursuing a cybersecurity career doesn’t pigeonhole you into a single role. There are a variety of different paths, and you can branch out into in different industries, protecting all kinds of data. Cybersecurity links to all other IT skill sets as well, giving you the opportunity to choose where you want to go based on your interests.
SW: What advice do you share with just about anyone when it comes to their cybersecurity?
JV: Question everything. Every interaction you receive via the internet or even in person can be someone attempting to get a hold of your sensitive information or your company’s. Learn about the social engineering tactics hackers use regardless of what career you are in, educate yourself on how to stay safe online and not expose yourself to untrustworthy networks. And most importantly, share your knowledge and spread awareness.
We are goal-obsessed, optimistic, and relentless in our pursuit against cyber adversaries. We celebrate individuality and encourage our team to evolve and grow. If this sounds like the culture for you, check out our current openings on the Fidelis Cybersecurity careers page.