Alumna Spotlight: Caron On Paving the Way For Women in Cyber

a woman discusses her career in cybersecurity from the perspective of women in cybersecurity

Women only makeup 11% of the cybersecurity
industry and Evolve Security Academy believes that number must increase. We are
highlighting the experiences and accomplishments of women in cybersecurity in
hopes that more women will feel excited and supported in pursuing this career
path for themselves. Caron Grantham, Evolve Security Academy alumna and current
Network Security Analyst at onShore Security, shares why cybersecurity was the right
career for her and the advice she gives to women pursuing their career in the
InfoSec industry.


1.) You came to Evolve with extensive
experience as a Software Quality Assurance Tester. Tell me about your previous

I gained my career foundation in Information
Systems and Technology while working 4 years as a Software Systems Engineer for
a major computer manufacturer.

recently, I worked 2 years as a QA tester for a national hardware and farming
supply store chain.  I worked on a
project that rolled out a customer loyalty card rewards program and
accompanying customer web site portal.


2.) How did you get started in cybersecurity?
What made you decide to pursue cybersecurity as a career?

Two years prior to employment at the hardware
corporation, I transitioned out of a 7-year career involved with
entrepreneurial endeavors in both real estate and IT consulting for small
business. I wanted to get back full time in IT… so I took advantage of the
Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) in Illinois.

I researched the needs of employers nationwide
and found that cybersecurity was the career in demand. I attended training in
cybersecurity part-time while I worked full-time as a QA tester.  Many characteristic skills needed for a
career in cybersecurity are required in the career of a QA. Both types of
analysts need to be curious, ask questions, pay attention to detail, be
assertive, be diplomatic. I felt that my QA background made for a natural
transition into cybersecurity and it was interesting to me.


3.) Research shows that only 11% of
cybersecurity professionals are women (2017 Global Information Security
Workforce Study). What challenges have you experienced entering and working in
a male-dominated field?

I feel very
blessed that I have not felt those challenges in the workforce.  I've been in the tech workforce since the
late 90's, however while I have not been the only female in most of my work
environments; most times I have been the only African American female and that
can be more challenging to not see women in S.T.E.M fields that look like me.

You mentioned that it is challenging not seeing African American women in tech,
in your experience what is the best way to support African American women in
the tech industry?

The best way to support women
in tech is through introduction of S.T.E.M. to girls and women from our
respective (ethnic) communities, in addition to finding ways to mentor and
volunteering in community organizations.  It is necessary that equitable
access to resources, education, and capital is provided across ALL
communities whether that be at a local, state or federal level.

5.) What made you decide to enroll at Evolve
Security Academy? Why was this program the right choice for you?

I learned about Evolve at one of their debut
meetups at 1871. Once I met the founders who described what type of students
they were seeking, I felt that I was a good candidate with the "right
aptitude and attitude", as they say at Evolve. I liked that the goal of
the bootcamp was to get competent students quickly spun up to meet the
employment requirements for various cybersecurity roles.


6.) How did Evolve Security Academy prepare
you for a job in cybersecurity?

We worked on real world projects, used the
software tools common in the industry, took outings to cybersecurity related
events, were introduced to and instructed by actual CIO's, CISSO's, and CISSP
consultants in the working in the field.


7.) Where are you working now? What is your
day-to-day role like?

I work as a Network Security Analyst at
onShore Security. Our company offers Managed Security Services. My job is to
monitor Network Intrusion Detection Systems and firewalls, mostly for midsize
banks. I also develop and present weekly high-level metrics and trend analysis
reports to C-suite officers. I am also responsible for executing authorized
vulnerability scans and reporting results and remediation.


8.) In your opinion why do you believe that
women should join the cybersecurity industry?

Since there is already a shortage of qualified
people as it is to fill all the cybersecurity positions available, why should
women not join? Women should be in any field they like to pursue in S.T.E.M.


9.) What advice do you have for women who are
interested in making a career change into cybersecurity?

Just do it! Do the research into the industry,
attend tech meetups, find like minds, determine what interests you in this broad
industry and pursue it.


10.)  What resources would you recommend
to women who are looking to join the cybersecurity industry?

  1. Enroll in a bootcamp like Evolve Security Academy
  2. Join affinity/interest groups that focus on cybersecurity topics (found on LinkedIn, Meetup, Facebook)
  3. Find volunteer opportunities in organizations that revolve around technology in general
  4. Self-study is helpful, there are plenty of YouTube videos from experts on various subjects within cybersecurity
  5. Read the industry blogs and articles found on DarkReading, Krebs on Security etc.
  6. Obtain membership in various professional organizations like ISSA, ISACA, OWASP,WiCyS etc.
  7. Volunteer at cybersecurity conferences such as WiCyS 


Take the next
step in your career by applying to 
Evolve Security Academy.


Want to learn more about
the Evolve Security Academy experience? Checkout past articles from our alumni, 
Ariel, Application Security Analyst at United Airlines and Patrick, Senior Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst for FireEye.