Prioritizing education in security

Confidence Staveley’s security career began with an interest in technology as a whole. Staveley earned her bachelor’s degree in Information Technology and Business Information Systems. While completing a master’s in Information Technology Management, an elective on cryptology piqued her interest.

“The fascinating world of information security, commonly known as cybersecurity, instantly captivated me. I was enthralled by the idea of safeguarding technological advancements, ensuring societal security and promoting innovation within a secure framework,” Staveley says.

Advancing her knowledge through self-study, Staveley became increasingly passionate about cybersecurity. Staveley found that the “dynamic nature” of the field kept her engaged, as she was able to learn more and more as the years went on. As her career developed, Staveley moved through a variety of cybersecurity positions, including Cybersecurity Architect, Chief Information Security Officer and Cybersecurity Board Member.

Currently, Staveley is the founder of the CyberSafe Foundation. The non-profit, started in 2019, focuses on advancing cybersecurity awareness and education within underserved communities. The organization’s CyberGirls Fellowship is Africa’s largest cybersecurity training and mentorship program targeted towards young women.

“The fellowship provides a life-changing opportunity for girls and young women across Africa to acquire the skills they need to launch successful cybersecurity careers ultimately leading to increased economic prosperity for themselves, their families, and their communities,” Staveley says.

By focusing on young women and girls, Staveley aims to close the gender gap in security. Her work focuses on education, skills development and general exposure to potential career paths.

Staveley recently became a published author with the release of her book “API Security for White Hat Hackers”.

I was enthralled by the idea of safeguarding technological advancements, ensuring societal security and promoting innovation within a secure framework”

“In this book, I help readers uncover offensive defense strategies and master security API implementation. The book was written for cybersecurity professionals, ethical hackers, penetration testers, developers and software engineers,” Staveley says.

Staveley also makes use of her social media to promote cybersecurity education with a YouTube series “API Kitchen” to help explain API security concepts. In addition, Staveley volunteers as a judge for a variety of cybersecurity organizations.

When thinking about women looking to enter the security field, Staveley’s advice is to “embrace continuous learning”. The nature of cybersecurity means that things are constantly changing, as threats and technology grow more advanced by the day. There’s always something to learn in cybersecurity, making it a perfect career for individuals wanting an interesting career. Staveley also stresses the importance of soft skills, which can often be overlooked in technology-focused fields. Staveley wants women who discovered security during adulthood to know that they have options to enter the field, regardless of their degree or prior experience.

“Remember, cybersecurity is broad with many specializations. Identify your interests and strengths and focus on an area that excites you,” Staveley says. “Use the support of organizations that champion women in cybersecurity, such as CyberSafe Foundation and WiCyS. Take advantage of scholarships, mentorship programs, and other initiatives aimed at increasing diversity in the field.”

Finally, Staveley reminds women to network and build connections with one another. Her advocacy spans from child education to adulthood, encouraging women working in security to help those looking to join.

“Attend industry events, join forums and participate in online communities. Networking actively and seeking mentorship from experienced professionals can significantly aid your career,” Staveley says. At the center of Staveley’s work is the importance of building connections. She works to increase the number of available opportunities for women at all levels, from elementary school to the board room.