Raising Awareness about Cybersecurity Careers: An Interview with Diane Janosek


Posted on by Kacy Zurkus

I have to say that I’m really excited to be writing this blog series about Cybersecurity Awareness Month. In planning against these topics, I’ve had the chance to connect with really influential, passionate professionals in the industry. Because I have an obsession with the beloved Moira Rose from Schitt’s Creek, I’ll take advantage of this moment to point out that, “When one of us shines, all of us shine.”

Speaking of incredible women, in this second of my two-part series focused on Week 3 of Cybersecurity Awareness Month, I spoke with Diane M. Janosek, NSA’s Lead Training Instructor and Commandant of NSA’s National Cryptologic School, about her thoughts on Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week as well as the theme of Explore. Experience. Share.

Q. What does this week’s theme mean to you?

A. As NSA’s Lead Training Instructor, I provide educational content on-demand to a workforce located all over the globe. I came into the field of cybersecurity mid-career, so the message behind this week’s campaign is especially meaningful for me. Over the years, I’ve heard many people say, “There are many career options available in the field of cybersecurity.” As I reflect back on my career, I believe that statement was accurate. I was able to combine my law degree with CISSP and focus on the area where technology innovation, law and policy intersect: education. While my career path may not be traditional, it certainly isn’t unique. Many people find their way into fulfilling cybersecurity careers from other career paths. And the reason is simple: The cybersecurity field has a strong need for talented people with multiple skill sets. What others should take from my specific career story is: You don’t necessarily need a traditional four-year computer science degree to get started.

Q. What is the purpose of connecting this week’s topic of Explore. Experience. Share. and Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week?

A. Cybersecurity is a dynamic, rewarding and collaborative field, and it is filled with people who are motivated to make this world a better and safer place. This week, I’d love to see people explore ways to increase diversity and inclusion and aid in recruitment and retention efforts.

Q. Considering the overarching theme of Do Your Part. #BeCyberSmart., what does “do your part” mean for job seekers as well as hiring managers and others?

A. “Do Your Part. #BeCyber Smart.” means that leaders at every level of an organization can and should use their role to inspire others to learn and explore cybersecurity careers. They should also engage in public dialogues that increase awareness about career opportunities in cybersecurity. It may also mean taking things a step further by partnering with organizations with similar goals and initiatives because cybersecurity really is a team sport, and we need every organization to do its part.

Individually, I think that leaders should model their message for others. In my case, I am not just leading the creation of educational programs; I am also completing a Ph.D. in Cybersecurity Leadership. I am using the lessons I’ve learned as a working student and channeling those insights into ways that we conceive and create new educational programs. In the past year, my team created a program that facilitates sharing cybersecurity education resources between schools that have robust educational resources and schools that would like to but don’t have formal cybersecurity educational content or programs. This year, we are going further and creating programs that aim to increase the participation of women, minorities, veterans, people with differing abilities and underrepresented populations in the cybersecurity workforce. So, while my specific focus is on cybersecurity education programs, leaders at every level of an organization can do something to address the nation’s need for skilled cyber workforce talent.

Contributors
Kacy Zurkus

Content Strategist, RSA Conference

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