Breaking Barriers: My Journey as a Woman in Cyber Security

Published on
March 7, 2024

Breaking Barriers: My Journey as a Woman in Cyber Security

Written by: Charmaine Manalansan

Hey everyone! It’s Charmaine Manalansan, your friendly Senior PAM Engineer, and I’m thrilled to share my cyber security journey with you as we celebrate International Women’s Day. Pour yourself a cup of coffee, and let’s chat about breaking into the field, overcoming challenges, continuous learning, and empowering women in cyber security.

Fresh out of college with a Computer Science degree in hand, I never imagined my path would lead me to the intriguing world of cyber security. Joining the Security Operations team, I found myself surrounded by acronyms and jargon that felt like a foreign language. But you know what made all the difference? Colleagues who saw my potential and believed in me. Learning on the job became my daily routine, thanks to their support and willingness to share their knowledge.

Being a young woman in cyber security has its challenges. There were moments when doubts crept in, and I felt like I had to prove myself a bit more. But superheroes need allies, right? I was lucky to have incredible mentors and peers who not only believed in me but also stood by me during those moments of self-doubt.Their encouragement fueled my determination to break stereotypes and show that expertise knows no gender boundaries.

Now, let’s talk about the thrilling ride of continuous learning and growth. I vividly remember raising my hand for a Subject Matter Expert (SME) role in my first company. The catch? Diving into an application I knew absolutely nothing about – the infamous CyberArk. This decision also meant packing my bags and moving to a different country, a prospect that both excited and terrified me.

What made it all worthwhile? The amazing support system around me. Friends, mentors, and colleagues believed in my potential and encouraged me to take the leap. Fast forward to today, and I can proudly say that I’ve become one of the most certified CyberArk engineers in Australia. It’s a journey that taught me the power of embracing challenges, pushing boundaries, and having a community that stands by you every step of the way.

To all the aspiring women out there looking to break into the cyber security field, my advice is simple – be fearless. Embrace the challenges, use them as stepping stones, and never underestimate the power of continuous learning. Network with fellow professionals, find mentors who inspire you, and don’t be afraid to showcase your skills. Cyber security needs diverse voices, and your perspective is invaluable.

As I stand here at J Group in my role as a Senior PAM Engineer, I carry not just technical expertise but also a deep appreciation for the value of inclusion and diversity in our industry. Let’s continue to empower women in cyber security and create a community where everyone feels supported and encouraged to pursue their passion. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or just starting in the field, remember that it’s not just about breaking glass ceilings; it’s about shattering them and paving the way for others to follow.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure down memory lane! Feel free to share your own experiences or drop me a message on LinkedIn. Here’s to celebrating International Women’s Day and the incredible women making waves in cyber security!

To hear more insights about women in cyber security, click HERE to view our past webinar, where my female colleagues and I discuss inclusion in the industry.


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