How did I become Technical Beauty?
Hello Everyone! My name is Jihana and welcome to my Technical Beauty Blog. I’ve dubbed myself "Technical Beauty" because I am a girlie girl in tech. I love all things pretty and pink even when the environment I’m in doesn’t appreciate it. I am of the belief that owning and accepting what makes me unique in a homogeneous space is a benefit to the people around me, even if they haven’t acknowledged it yet. I've created this blog to help you all better understand me and I figured the best way to break the ice would be to tell you a bit of my tech story.
Technology isn’t a career that I EVER thought I would get into. If I am being honest, I thought it was for nerds (of which I am proudly a member lol). I told myself I should do something in the medical field because it would pay me well and I would be able to do it anywhere. All of that came to a screeching halt when I decided to join the military. Upon joining the Air Force, I was TOLD that I will be in the intelligence career field and that was that. Keep in mind I had NO idea what that meant at the time (hell I was still confused for the first two years while I was in it).
Anyway, around my third year in, boredom got the best of me one day and I decided to sign up for a computer course. I thought it was going to teach me about the applications in the Microsoft Office suite. What I didn’t realize was that I signed up for the most mentally intense computer bootcamp that I have ever experienced in life to date. The course was called the Joint Cyber Analysis Course (JCAC). Mannnn when I tell you I learned everything there is to know about computers and there inner working I am not exaggerating. It was detailed to the point that I learned what happens to a computer on the inside when a user simply presses the power button. It was everything computers on steroids. Keep in mind I had 6 months to learn about both operating systems, traffic analysis, ethical hacking you name it, I had to learn it.
Fast forward 6 months later, I emerge as a cyber ninja (lol…well not really but I knew a lot of things that the average person had no clue nor would consider thinking about). I distinctly remember showing up at my first workspace following the program, and everyone was looking at me like I was the new shiny object with all of the knowledge in the world about computers. Meanwhile, I felt like a deer in headlight who only knew enough information to read an email. To say I had a steep learning curve was a huge understatement. Nonetheless, I stood the course. I decided to volunteer myself as the guinea pig to create the new cyber analyst on the job training program for that office. I volunteered to take all of the cyber and analytical computer classes I could get my hands on. The way I saw it was, I would make sure I am learning new things and retaining what I already learned while helping whatever new analysts would come after me.
Well my plan worked and I ended up getting a job in another office that really changed my life as an analyst. I was in an ethical hacker position and it was great! I learned so much about being meticulous and getting creative in an effort to keep my finger on the pulse of what hackers latest exploits would be. It was in that moment that a love for cyber security began! During that period I completed both my Certified Ethical Hacker and Security+ certifications and got my Bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security to help legitimize and solidify my expertise.
Now while I was excelling professionally, it wasn’t easy. I had little to no women that looked like me around and no one really guiding me on the steps they took to get there. I was surrounded by men (usually white) and it was hard to find common ground culturally and socially at times. This doesn’t mean I haven’t met great people along my journey who have looked out for me and have helped me in whatever ways they could, but it still wasn’t the same. I wanted to see more women that looked like me, were into getting to the bag and keeping it cute all at the same time. Those moments were what motivated me to create TechSorority and speaking at school and create the blog you are reading today. We as women in the tech are nuanced and proverbial “unicorns.” It would be easy to make it about color but it is more about the fact that as women in technology as a whole are all minorities.