A veteran who has forged a career as a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst has spoken of how focusing more on the achievements of women in technology rather than statistics showing how few there are in the industry would inspire more women to join.
“There’s a lot of really well regarded and inspirational women who work in the industry that perhaps need to be shouted out about their contribution a bit more rather than focusing on the fact that there’s not so many of us.”
Rhianna King served 12 years in the military, firstly as a vehicle mechanic in the Royal Electrical And Mechanical Engineers (REME), before transferring to the Intelligence Corps and working as an Intelligence Analyst and Linguist.
These days she works as a Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst, while volunteering for TechVets, a non-profit that provides a bridge for veterans and service leavers into Cyber Security and Technology careers.
Since leaving the armed forces and transitioning to civvy street, Rihanna has found herself contradicting the idea that there are not many women working in technology.
She now works with more women than she did during her time with the British Army.
The cyber expert spoke to BFBS, the forces station, broadcaster George Wedlake about her career and what it is like to be a woman in tech. She said:
“Obviously I can’t speak for all womankind.
“I do work alongside plenty of other women as well.
“A lot of statistics are put around about how women are in the minority and it’s really difficult being a woman in tech but that’s not been my experience at all.
“Actually, in contrast to my time in the military, I work with a lot more women now.”
The veteran is keen to encourage those who are considering leaving the armed forces to look into pursuing a career in cyber, especially now, because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The country has relied on cyber a great deal more during the lockdowns thanks to the government's guidance to work from home increasing the need for video calls, dramatically increasing the threat landscape. She said:
“[This] is where cyber threat intelligence is key at identifying threats so it’s a growing industry.
"Plenty of opportunities for people to get involved and start a career in tech and like me with little background in technology as well, it’s still available to you.”
The sector is growing exponentially, and the intelligence skills Rhianna learned in the military have transferred across well to cyber threat intelligence. She said:
“All you’re doing is adding the cyber aspect on to it.
“It’s not easy but, with a bit of hard work you can easily learn the skills you need to have a good career in cyber.”
Rhianna combines her job as a cyber threat intelligence analyst with volunteering at TechVets who have just launched a new podcast, helping veterans and service leavers move into the cyber and technology industries.
She appeared on the first episode to share her personal insight into the benefits of diversity in the industry and how perfect a tech and cybersecurity career can be for veterans. She said:
“We discussed what Tech Vets can do for military service leavers and those still in and the benefits of it.
"We also discussed what cyber threat intelligence is and covered a bit of as well about gender diversity in tech.”
Rhianna says that sharing her knowledge and knowing it could help get people’s lives on track and perhaps help them find a new career felt really good, saying:
“One of the things I found when I transitioned from the military to civilian life was, I couldn’t have done it without the support of other veterans.
“And also, just networking with people working in the sector in general so being able to give my experience and hopefully help others do the same is a real privilege.”
For more information and to listen to their new podcast head to techvets.co