Updated: Jul 5, 2022
Our new venture, Inspiring Journeys in Cybersecurity, is an attempt to showcase our member's journeys in the domain. We will continue to bring more inspiring journeys in the future.
Rachana Kamat (she/her) is currently based out of Boston, United States, and working as Enterprise Security Engineer at Wayfair. She is originally from Mumbai, India. Her name literally means creation and that’s what she thrives to bring to her professional work as well with her innovative mindset.
Tell us about your journey in Cybersecurity, your ups and downs, and your accomplishments.
I have completed my Masters in Cybersecurity from Northeastern University. Throughout the coursework, we were introduced to both technical and management aspects of cybersecurity. I gained industry experience by interning at a financial company in New York & a security firm in Boston.
The best part was meeting some incredible security industry leaders and learning from their experiences.
The challenging part was traveling to a different continent, adjusting to the new culture, being independent while balancing academics. I think this experience on a personal front has helped me develop my personality and made me more confident than what I was before coming to the US.
What drove you to Cybersecurity?
During my engineering coursework, we had courses such as computer security, and computer networks and had a small ethical hacking workshop that made me curious about the field of security. I started looking for specialized courses in the same and decided to pursue my Masters in cybersecurity in the US. So, simply put, curiosity has been the primary reason for my choice of the field.
One thing you wish to change about the Cybersecurity domain?
I think the fact that everyone considers that cybersecurity is just hacking. The first question that I get when I say I am in the security industry is “Can you show me how to hack someone’s account?”. There are numerous domains well within the security and yes ethical hacking is definitely a part but acknowledging other key aspects that together build our security workforce is something that I wish happens soon.
Do you think communities play a role in uplifting someone in this domain or does one need to play solo?
Yes, communities play an important role. Being solo sometimes is the biggest reason for imposter syndrome as you do not have a wall to bounce off your thoughts. Having the support of a group of people with similar experiences definitely helps combat self-doubt and bring the best within us. I will definitely encourage everyone to find community support, either a professional one or a small group that you can reach out to.
Have you done anything in the Cybersecurity domain that has enriched the diversity and inclusion scenario? If yes, mention it briefly.
One thing that I wish I could have done better was finding a mentor early in my career. So, when I was presented with the opportunity to be a mentor to girls interested in security, I happily accepted it. My main goal was to help them understand the security industry's expectations and make them aware of the challenges this field will throw. It was a good experience and I am happy I was able to guide them through it.
One challenge, according to you, that women face in the cybersecurity domain. How did you overcome it?
One experience that stands out for me is when during one of the meetings at a previous firm, I was the only female, non-native representative among 40+ participants. It was challenging for me to counter-question others as I did not feel confident and was constantly scared of being incorrect.
How has your experience been with the Breaking Barriers Women In Cybersecurity Foundation?
Being a part of the BBWIC Foundation has been amazing. This community has so much to offer with their guest speaker keynotes, encouraging groups like #dreambig, #resources, and the cherry on the cake-the encouraging team that is both hardworking and inspiring.
I joined the community to see how I can be of help but BWWIC has in return given me a backup that I can reach out to in times of need in terms of resources, ideas, and motivation.
Interviewed and edited by Dr. Sana Fatima
(Sana is an advisory board member of the BBWIC Foundation. A dental surgeon, a writer, and a full-time editor in a publishing house, Sana is a cybersecurity enthusiast herself.)