Success for women in the 21st century workplace has boosted the number of girls who believe in their capability to achieve greatness in the tech arena. Hamdalah Adetunji is one such lady, whose interest in Information Security has led her away from her field of study. Read on.**
What drove your interest in Information Security? I studied Science Laboratory Technology at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology. While in school, I was given the opportunity to attend a federal government/Huawei training for girls in ICT. We were trained as network engineers but what caught my fancy was the security part of it. We learnt how IP addresses worked and I was fascinated by the mystery behind accessing someone’s computer without their consent or knowledge.
How did you get into Information Security? I met Eyitemi, a Cyber-security Analyst at a djangogirls event and he got me interested in what he was doing. Later, he informed me about an upcoming Capture the Flag Games or CTF event where there was an all female cyber-security team, Pink Ambitions, participating. I met amazing, strong women and slugged it out with five other teams. Though we didn’t win, the highlight was when we solved a challenge that no one else could. We were all novices but we did well.
Is there anything in cyber security you are really excited about right now? I am still in learning and I am amazed at the way these things work but I am keen about Cryptography, the ability to decipher and cipher, hiding information in plain sight. I intern as a back-end developer so I learn as much as I can in my spare time.
How did you deal with the challenges of entering a new field? Learning a new thing is always fun for me but the problem is with continuity. In this case, I stayed in touch with the community so that I get reminded every time I see notifications and messages from people. I know there’s still a whole lot to learn but I take it one day at a time.
What drives you to do what you do? Curiosity! I don’t want to be told how it works, I want to see how it works. Seeing amazing women in SheSecures Africa doing great things pushes me to be like them. Knowing that one day I can mentor other women and girls makes me want to keep learning more.
What advice would you give to other young girls and women who want to start a career in Information Security? Erase all doubt and just start. It won’t be easy, it definitely won’t be fun always but you will be glad about what you did. You don’t have to be good in maths. You don’t even have to know how to write code. As long as you can pay attention to detail and have the zeal to start a career in Information Security, nothing can stop you! Find people with common goals, get yourself a mentor, read as much as you can and practice a new thing everyday.
What would you like to see more as a woman in Cyber Security? More women being at the forefront of information and cybersecurity. Mentors that would bring other women up and train them to be better.
Parting Shot? “The only limitation any one can have is the one in their mind, Explore and see the endless possibilities you can attain.” Napoleon Hill.
** This article by Lilian Douglas Ezeugo was first posted on SheSecures Spotlight on September 5, 2017. SheSecures is an online and offline community for women professionals and enthusiasts in cybersecurity, with the aim of actively growing the community of young African women to bridge the gender gap in cybersecurity.