Hi, Could you introduce yourself?
My name is Savanah (Savs). I have been solving security problems for the last three years and made my debut as a security engineer one year ago!
What are you working on?
I work on application security in a cloud based environment. That means a lot of reading code, configurations, and building tools to solve application security problems at scale.
How did you get into your current field?
I have known for a long time that I wanted to work in tech. I was always the friend people would go to if they had computer issues and I got my start in college on the campus IT team (shout out to @studenttechnologyservices).
I took enough computer science classes to make it my “major concentration” but not enough to learn all the ropes. I regularly attended the security conference RSA and met my first to-be-mentor who offered me an intern position focused on security. After two years, I was running a behavior modification based security education program full time. That is when I realized I wanted to spend my time building software and solving technical security problems! I was able to make the transition and I have been writing software and finding security vulnerabilities ever since!
What are your goals?
My goals are:
1. To be an outstanding contributor to the field of information security
2. Make space in the industry for other amazing women and POC (who are vastly under represented) and
3. To keep building new and interesting things with technologies that take a lot of work for me to fully understand.
Do you have a mentor?
I have had several mentors, all of whom I owe much of my current career progression to! Some of them are even my friends now
Do you mentor anyone?
I regularly speak with women in the community and have had two formal mentees. I am always open to answering questions and giving feedback!
Whats the best and worse advice you have received?
The best advice was to be the first one in the office and the last to leave (I don’t always achieve this). And to always volunteer to do the work no one else wants to do because it seems too hard.
Someone once told me that I might want to consider taking on less work, and that they were worried I would fail. I think this gave me the fire I needed to prove them wrong
There is a caveat here which is that you should always prioritize your mental and emotional health and avoid taking on so much that either is compromised. But only YOU know your limit.
Who do you follow? what blogs do you read?
Read gigi_codes interview here
Read Shreya's interview here
I keep up with security news on Twitter and with classic blogs like @TheHackerNews and krebsonsecurity.com
What’s the best way to keep up to date with what you’re
Follow my Instagram @savsfrisk where I post security tips and tricks! I will be launching a website soon as well, which is currently under development
What advice would you give to someone wanting to work at a big tech company?
I would say get really good at your craft, the bar is very high at the best tech companies (for good reason). Ultimately though, the interviewers want you to succeed. If you show you are motivated, a thought leader in the space, and have a track record of creatively solving problems they will be desperate to hire you!
What could the tech industry do to better foster female talent?
I have had the privilege of being fully supported and allowed the space to learn and grow into an engineering role. I don’t think that’s always the norm. From a structural level, companies that provide resources and opportunities proactively rather than reactively (waiting for employees to demand access) find much more success in cultivating talent.
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