Following on from my last article about my strange interests, I’d like to share two of my key interests that in 2009 led to a whole new career for me. I had no idea at the time that I was #ActuallyAutistic, but I now understand why these two interests resonated me to such a degree that I was able to channel them to create the life I have today.
Here are the two interests that I cannot live without and that form a big part of who I am and what I do:
Technology, Computers and Gadgets
If I can find a gadget to help me do something better, or a gadget that is a bit futuristic, I want it. My home contains a myriad of different gadgets and technologies and the internet of things has meant I can connect the gadgets I use online in a way I never thought possible. Control my heating from my phone? Check! Turn on the kettle when I fancy a cup of coffee? Check! See who is at the door on my phone before I answer it? Check! Keep an eye on my dog while she is in the garden while I work? Check!
One of my favourite shows years ago was “Tomorrows World” on the BBC, and I loved the whole futuristic aspect of it and seeing what new and emerging technological advances were being made. I almost felt like I was born ahead of my time when I was watching it.
As a child I loved the whole home computer movement and I had a Texas Instruments home computer with Space Invaders on it which I loved, and which was capable of me being able to do some basic programming on. I then moved onto a Commodore 64 followed by the Amiga 500 and Amiga 1200. This sparked off a lifelong interest in computing and using computers to write and advance my career. Whatever the next technological advance was in the world of computers, I was and still am one step ahead of everyone else. I treat myself to the latest computer specs and technology as it becomes available. You could say that I am a geek and proud
Cyber Security and Hacking
My ex-husband was very high up as an ethical hacker when we were together. This led him to inventing a software tool called Nipper. It has evolved a lot since then, but he founded Titania Ltd while still working for a pen testing company in north London in 2009, and I joined the company as the Chief Operations Officer and PR/Marketing Director until we split up in February 2012.
From the moment I joined Titania Ltd I was obsessed with hacking and the psychology of hackers. I was particularly interested in what drove them to hack into systems, and the whole cyber security world grew from this point forward. Today it is one of the UK’s fastest growing industries, but back then it was in its infancy, and I am so proud to have been in the industry from its inception.
Since I joined Titania Ltd back in 2009 I have turned my obsession with hacking and hackers into a new career, while still utilising my core skills of writing, PR and marketing. I am now the Founder of the UK Cyber Security Association and I have worked with many world-leading cyber security companies since I split up from my ex-husband in 2009. I have interviewed top experts in the cyber security world, written extensively about cyber security and help companies in the cyber security industry market themselves better to their target audiences.
Education in cyber security is key, and I focus on getting organisations to understand that cyber security is everyone’s responsibility, and not something that is to be ignored or put on the back burner until a breach happens and it is too late. I also work hard on raising awareness of women in cyber security, bridging the cyber skills gap and neurodiversity in cyber security.
From this interest back in 2009 I now have a new and strong career today as a thought leader and industry expert in cyber security. I have been published in Counter Terror Business Magazine, FC Magazine and Europa Business Magazine to name but a few recently and I have been asked to speak at a few cyber security events next year.
In addition I am currently writing a book called “The Rise of the Cyber Woman”. I plan to release this on Amazon Createspace in early 2019, and it will focus on the gender inequality that is still present in cyber security today, how women are making strides in the industry and how to get more women interested in careers in cyber security when they are at school and college. Crucially, it will include a section on how to attract women neurodivergent into the industry.
I love the new direction my career has taken as a result of these two key interests. As someone who is neurodivergent, it is perfect and allows me to use all my strengths and skills and allows me to use my interviewing and journalistic skills, while also allowing me to write books, which is something I have wanted to do my entire life.
Whatever your interests are, embrace them and work with them. They may lead to a whole new career, and there is a strong movement right now towards a neurodivergent workforce especially in cyber security. I am proud to be riding that wave, and long may it continue.