Friday, March 1, 2024

Instinct and Curiosity Combine Nicely with Expertise

An interview with Valeria Scribanti, a Technical Options Specialist with concentrate on cybersecurity.

Welcome to the Cisco Girls in Cybersecurity’s weblog collection, the place we spotlight the tales of the mentors who’ve impressed and advocated for the careers of these in our group. This collection seeks to indicate the significance of allyship, connection, and the way totally different the journeys might be right into a profession in cybersecurity.

Interviewer Intro:

Valeria and I met quickly after I joined Cisco in 2021. We’re each a part of the “Swiss Cybersecurity Girls” group, which is an inside on-line group for girls in cybersecurity primarily based in Switzerland. Through the years, Valeria and I stayed in contact, scheduling a digital espresso or sending one another attention-grabbing articles. Final 12 months we even received an opportunity to fulfill in individual at Cisco Stay in Amsterdam. The factor that strikes me about Valeria is her upbeat perspective, vitality and tenacity. This interview is an opportunity for me to seek out out extra about Valeria’s path into cybersecurity and her secret to staying constructive in an business with a bent to concentrate on the darkish aspect of affairs.


  • What impressed you to pursue a profession in cybersecurity? 

I’ve all the time been very eager about know-how from a curiosity perspective, despite the fact that rising up I didn’t see myself as a really nerdy individual. I’m a millennial, so I grew up in an atmosphere the place know-how was not all that current. I nonetheless keep in mind the primary time I noticed an iPod; it actually fascinated me as a tool, and I instantaneously wished to seek out out all about its workings. Later, when my father purchased his first laptop computer and he was programming in Visible Studio at dwelling in the future, I caught my first glimpse of code and that received me hooked. From there I understood that know-how is what I wished to do, and I made a decision to enroll first in a bachelors engineering program at Politecnico di Torino after which proceed with the double diploma grasp’s program between the Politecnico di Torino and the Hamburg College of Expertise (TUHH).

So, it was actually about instinct and curiosity which led me to decide on know-how as a occupation. Nicely, that and the truth that I used to be taking part in a number of Nintendo with my brother.

  • What was your first foot within the door – the place did you begin? 

My research in Italy laid the muse for my later work in cybersecurity. As a pupil within the Computer systems and Communication Community Engineering program, I received to play with a number of Cisco know-how, studying switching and routing. But, as an entire, the college program was moderately theoretical and analysis oriented. It was not till I went to Germany for the trade program that I took an ideal course on cybersecurity with a professor from the business. I used to be fascinated with the subjects he lined on this class – buffer overflow, SQL injections, cross-site scripting. Instances have modified these days, however again then this kind of course was not a regular a part of the college curriculum. The subject felt so new and tremendous thrilling to me that I made a decision to think about cybersecurity as a potential course after commencement.

I landed my first job quickly after ending my grasp’s diploma. The college helped us discover a place so for me it was a very clean transition. The job market again then supplied loopy variety of alternatives, not like the present state of affairs.

  • How do you know what function precisely you wish to go for?

By doing the interviews I really received to know extra in regards to the totally different roles, what day-to-day actions they contain and what trajectory I may observe if I had been to affix.

  • How has your profession advanced since your preliminary begin? 

My first function was a Community and Safety Engineer at a system integrator firm in Italy. I nonetheless keep in mind the interview with them. We began off with some straightforward to reply questions, corresponding to “what’s a firewall?”. The subsequent questions, nonetheless, had been subjects which had been completely new to me again then, corresponding to what an IPS (intrusion prevention system) and defense-in-depth and so on. Wanting again, I feel that the interviewers posed these inquiries to hone my urge for food for the subject and reveal that they had been coping with cutting-edge know-how. In the course of the interview they defined the rules of these safety merchandise and confirmed me what the function would entail.

As a customer-facing engineer there, I started working with a number of Cisco know-how, in addition to different distributors. The most effective a part of this function was the chance to do hands-on work with actual tasks and actual duty. As a junior engineer, I felt each scared and motivated to be on web site with prospects and do issues stay, however that is how I realized tons about safety structure design, implementation and configuration of various safety merchandise corresponding to firewalls, IPS, WAF, anti-virus, and so on.

Sooner or later I started working with the Cisco Safe Community Analytics (previously Stealthwatch) workforce on a venture. By speaking with them I found different forms of roles inside cybersecurity. The work of a safety gross sales engineer, who’s chargeable for creating and designing proof of worth (POV) for safety merchandise, actually clicked with me and I joined Cisco in 2018. That’s how I moved from the extra technically oriented operations into a job with a mixture of exhausting and comfortable abilities.

One of many issues that I actually love in regards to the TSS function is that I get to work with international prospects and as a part of a world workforce, work together with totally different cultures and put into observe the a number of languages that I communicate. I spotted the truth that I additionally get pleasure from working carefully with prospects, listening to their wants and being a trusted advisor, somebody that prospects can depend on all through the entire course of.

  • What’s the one factor you would like you had recognized at first of your cybersecurity profession? 

I made a number of decisions for my profession primarily based on a intestine feeling. My instinct served me properly however wanting again, I may have used some extra steering and knowledge to determine which course I ought to take. There are such a lot of totally different paths that exist on the market and it’s value exploring them earlier than deciding on a specific profession.

How to try this? A technique is to affix cybersecurity communities which are close to you and discover out extra about these totally different roles. Discuss to professionals who’re already within the discipline and hearken to their perspective.

  • What’s your single most essential piece of recommendation to folks contemplating a profession in cybersecurity? 

Hang around with individuals who like cybersecurity – you’ll be taught lots!

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