Women at Net Friends Blog Series
In celebration of Women's History Month, we are interviewing women at Net Friends about their experiences in technology and the career advice they have for women navigating this industry. Follow along at Women at Net Friends. Meet Madison, SOC Analyst.
How did you get into the technology industry?
I graduated from NC State University with a degree in Agricultural Business Management. After working several customer service jobs, I decided to switch career paths. I enrolled in a software engineering program and I was working a temporary contract in that field when I became involved in the local WiCyS (Women in CyberSecurity) chapter. WiCyS is a nationwide networking and mentorship group for women in the cybersecurity field. I love learning through other women’s professional struggles and wins while broadening my horizons with their regular webinars.
What is one roadblock that you overcame to arrive where you are today?
In my senior year of college, I was crushed when I was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin's Lymphoma. I went through chemotherapy for one semester and re-enrolled only to relapse with new tumors a few weeks in. I had to take a year off to receive a stem cell transplant before finishing up my studies. It felt like I’d never get back to any sense of normalcy and finally achieving my diploma after all the hardships was such a surreal moment.
Who is one woman who has inspired you and why?
My mentor and former boss, Janis DeWitt. She is a lead software engineer and manager who took me under her wing and encouraged me to keep pursuing a career in tech.
She said to me, “Sometimes women have to work harder to be taken seriously, especially when they become mothers and are juggling school pickup and childcare when others on the team are not. You have to find a balance early on and stick to it.”
I am continuously inspired by the ways she balances home life while developing applications and simultaneously managing her team.
If you could change one thing for the next generation, what would it be?
I hope there will be continued efforts to fund outreach programs to create better access for groups underrepresented in tech.
What advice would you offer young women interested in technology?
Women bring an important point of view to both technology and business. When diversity is embraced in the workplace, new ideas and perspectives help improve efficiency and effectiveness. I would encourage them to get plugged into a women’s tech networking group and make an effort to build relationships with the other members. Two of my favorites are WiCyS (Women in CyberSecurity) and Women Who Code.
What are you most proud of in your time at Net Friends?
I was very proud of how the SOC (Security Operations Center) covered the recent breach involving Microsoft Exchange servers. The team was able to tackle the issue by contacting and assisting affected clients in an efficient manner.
What qualities do you think make good leaders?
Good leaders have a solid vision, and are not afraid to have open and honest conversations about reaching their goals.