“Hacker in Heels” is a term that often refers to women who are involved in the field of cybersecurity or hacking, a traditionally male-dominated industry.

The Hacker in Heels organization, which provides resources, training, and networking opportunities specifically for women interested in cybersecurity. By offering courses, mentorship, and a supportive community, such organizations strive to break down barriers and create a more inclusive environment in the tech industry.

Maril Vernon and Stacey Champagne didn’t have technical backgrounds in cybersecurity but are now incredible disruptors in this space. Stacey was a visual information specialist for the government and Maril came from marketing. But both wanted to increase their earning potential in a field that they knew was never going away both in the private / commercial sector and defense. Also, as hosts of the Cyber Queens Podcast, they hope to help women level up in technical careers and increase female and LGBTQ diversity in cybersecurity.

This episode will teach you what you need to do to get your foot in the door, and their experiences sometimes being the only women in the room.

CYBER THREAT AND SKILLS LANDSCAPES

The cybersecurity landscape has changed over the years, especially with the evolving nature of cyber threats, and just as important as growing threats, there are critical skills needed for someone looking to enter the cybersecurity field today – even if you don’t necessarily have a technical background.

First and foremost, you must know how basic computers work and talk to each other. So go grab an IT for dummies book if you’re looking to pivot to the cyber space. Transitioning to a career in cybersecurity is an exciting and rewarding endeavor, but it will eventually require a specialized set of skills and knowledge. Build your proficiency or understanding in networking, operating systems, and basic programming, and learn about how different systems interact and where vulnerabilities might lie. One first step could be to learn a programming language like Python, Java, or C++.

Another critical skill set involves knowledge of cybersecurity principles and practices. This includes understanding various types of cyber threats, such as malware, phishing, and ransomware, and knowing how to mitigate them. Familiarity with encryption, firewalls, and intrusion detection systems is also necessary. To gain this expertise, many professionals pursue certifications such as CompTIA Security+, Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), or Certified Ethical Hacker (CEH). These certifications not only provide essential knowledge but also demonstrate a commitment to the field.

But just as important as a novice technical understanding, soft skills like communication are key and play a significant role in cybersecurity. Problem-solving and analytical thinking are essential, as cybersecurity professionals must be able to identify and address complex issues quickly and effectively. Attention to detail is also critical, as even small oversights can lead to significant vulnerabilities. Good communication skills are necessary for explaining technical concepts to non-technical stakeholders and for collaborating with team members. By combining technical knowledge with strong analytical and communication skills, you can successfully pivot to a fulfilling career in cybersecurity.

The “Hacker in Heels” phrase aims to challenge stereotypes and emphasize the growing presence and influence of women in tech, particularly in roles that require deep technical expertise and problem-solving skills. So, let’s leave the imposter syndrome at the door, ladies, and fuel the motivation you may have that women can excel in technical roles while breaking down barriers and reshaping the narrative around who can work in cyber. Hacker in Heels is a powerful symbol of empowerment, representing a shift towards hopefully greater diversity and inclusion in the tech world.

Ready to be a part of the movement? Join the Hacker in Heels INSIDERS COMMUNITY today.

*If you complete their quiz that helps people identify their cybersecurity career archetype, it will give you a discount on a membership (new members only).* And if you have an aspiring kiddo interested in cyber careers, check out Skadi: Threat Hunter graphic novel here.

 

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Katie Helbling is a marketing fanatic that enjoys anything digital, communications, promotions & events. She has 10+ years in the DoD supporting multiple contractors with recruitment strategy, staffing augmentation, marketing, & communications. Favorite type of beer: IPA. Fave hike: the Grouse Grind, Vancouver, BC. Fave social platform: ClearanceJobs! 🇺🇸