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Breaking Badness
Breaking Badness

Voices from Infosec with Olga Jilani

Here is a brief outline of our discussion with Olga Jilani

Tim and I not only had a fantastic time creating the Top Level Defender contest, we had a delightful time speaking with our winner, Olga Jiliani. To level set, this episode begins with a brief summary of the contest itself and our intentions to highlight and give thanks to defenders. Then of course, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, we introduced you to the winner of the Top Level Defender contest. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t choking back tears reading through all of the nominations, so it was extra special to have the opportunity to include Olga’s nomination in the spoken word. Olga was nominated by Xena, known as Ch33r10.

Olga was also kind enough to share her background. She has a Bachelor’s in electrical engineering technology and a Masters in computer engineering management. More prominently, Olga is a mom. She spent time raising her children and harnessed the courageous power of motherhood and transferred those skills into defending cyberspace with the same ferocity as how she protects her own family. Her entrance into the infosecurity space started with her reflecting on how she could reinvent herself. Although she didn’t initially know where to start, she did some soul searching, read infosecurity blogs, and set her sights on COMPITA’s Security Plus program.

Currently, Olga works as an information System Security Engineer. According to Olga, a day-in-the-life is far from consistent. She described the focus of her role as understanding how system “A” can communicate with system “B” securely without breaking systems (a daunting task). Systems are fickle and sensitive beasts, but there is much to be learned from breaking a system or two.

Something that struck Tim and me in Olga’s nomination for Top Level Defender, is Olga’s zest for knowledge. It was clear during her interview that her innate curiosity and willingness to ask questions are clear patterns of success. She highlighted the fact that if you don’t ask, you will not know or learn, and you might need that knowledge for the next problem or challenge that you face.

We discussed quite a few things during our podcast, but I’ll close with Olga’s advice for anyone aspiring to join the field. Olga invested heavily in meetups and frequently drove 50-60 miles to learn from meetup communities. She noted that there will be people you speak to who claim or think they know all the things—but she wisely advised not to let these types of people intimidate you. Simply listen and move on—but never let this stop you from achieving your professional aspirations.

It was truly a delight to speak with Olga, be sure to listen to the full interview to learn more about her career path, recommended resources, and much more. You can also learn more about Olga and the Top Level Defender contest on our recent blog.

Resources Noted in the Episode:

That’s about all we have for this week, you can find us on Twitter @domaintools, all of the articles mentioned in our podcast will always be included on our podcast recap. Catch us Wednesdays at 9 AM Pacific time when we publish our next podcast and blog.

*A special thanks to John Roderick for our incredible podcast music!