Getting into cybersecurity happened to me by chance.
In December 2019, I was searching for classes and courses for the following spring. I ended up signing up for two with the Luxembourg Lifelong Learning Center: “Creating Websites with HTML and CSS” and “Introduction to Cybersecurity”.
My initial interest was mostly directed to the one about website creation. However, the one for cybersecurity, which consisted of only a couple of sessions, listed topics such as personal data protection and online privacy, which resonated with me.
Then, COVID and lockdown happened. The classes were forced into an online format, and everything changed.
Attending these video conferences during a time when topics like integrity, availability and confidentiality were more relevant than ever and the news was flooded with ransomware attacks was an eye-opening experience. Just three hours in, there was no looking back.
As the months have passed, with the help of my teacher and mentor, I have gone through a hands-on learning process of IT, from the basics of setting up a personal computer, to virtualization or Linux, as well as frameworks such as ITIL. I have tackled the learning curve enthusiastically, eager to discover something new every day. Since last September, I have been attending both in-person and online cybersecurity classes.
Over time, I have also found inspiration from other women in the field and learned about the need for more professionals in the sector. I reconnected with an old acquaintance who has by now successfully transitioned into cybersecurity and her success story motivates me to keep going every day.
Nevertheless, there are still many challenges ahead: obtaining official certifications to back up the knowledge I have acquired, losing the fear associated with starting a new career in an IT domain without a prior technical background or finding a company willing to take a chance on someone re-joining the labour market after a pause of several years.
Today, I look excitedly at the community of wonderful people that Women Cyber Force is creating to empower women and look forward to the opportunities it will create for the female population of Luxembourg. I feel honoured to be a part of it and to share my journey to help other women also become part of the national cybersecurity ecosystem.
About the author
Desirée Alegre is Women Cyber Force ICT Security Officer and works behind the scenes to ensure the proper functioning of this website.
She is a logistics professional with working experience in international environments in different countries, who after a pause of several years is currently undergoing a career transition towards cybersecurity.
She is passionate about new technologies, the design and functioning of websites and an advocate for more accessible security training in Luxembourg.