E28 - Priya Gnanasekaran at LAB326 September, 2023
On today’s episode of the Women in Tech spin-off series, we’re joined by our host Eve Mckenna and special guest, Priya Gnanasekaran, Security Engineer at LAB3. During today’s episode, Eve and Priya discuss how her education helped her start a career in cybersecurity and the clarity she gained from getting her degree and master’s. Priya also shares her experience of being a woman in the tech industry and some advice to any younger women who are considering a career in the space.
Priya’s journey into cybersecurity wasn’t a textbook example of how someone typically enters this field. She took a master’s degree in computer science while harbouring an interest in cybersecurity. During her studies, she dedicated her research to cybersecurity as that was something she took a deep interest in.
Towards the end of her master’s, she secured a placement at Telstra, one of Australia’s largest telecommunications companies. While she had hoped to go directly into Telstra’s cybersecurity sector, she found herself assigned to their software development program instead. Priya’s manager at Telstra recognised her ambition. He asked her a question, “What do you want to get out of this role?” This simple question opened the door for Priya to steer her career in the direction she wanted. She expressed her passion for cybersecurity and as fate would have it, they were actively looking to increase their security posture at the time. Priya’s transition into DevSecOps was a strategic move. It allowed her to mix her software development skills with her interest in cybersecurity.
Priya’s education played a role in her career in cybersecurity. In Priya’s case, her educational experiences provided her with a foundation of the basics. One of the benefits of having a formal education is that she gained clarity about what career she was interested in going down. It provided the structure for her to make informed decisions about her career.
Being a woman in the technology field
While she has often found herself as the only woman on many of the teams, she has been a part of, her journey has been marked as a positive one by encouragement and support from her male colleagues. Their encouragement and support highlight the fact that gender diversity is not just a matter of numbers but also a cultural shift within the industry. Her experience of becoming comfortable in predominantly male teams is an important lesson in resilience. It highlights the idea that focusing on her skills can help break down gender-related barriers.
Mentorship has played an impactful role in her career journey. Mentors are people who have gone down similar paths to you, faced challenges, and ultimately succeeded. One of the benefits of having a mentor is the ability to relate to someone who has been in a similar situation. It fosters a sense of mutual understanding, making it easier to address concerns and seek help if needed. Mentorship also provides a space for vulnerability. Having a mentor creates a supportive environment where people can openly discuss their goals, fears, and setbacks. Her advice to women looking to get into the tech industry is to have the passion to grow and learn – knowledge is power. Not only that but having a positive mindset will get you far.
Tune in on the 26/09/2023 to hear the full episode!