We’ve all been told to think outside the box. As a marketer and a creative, it’s a motto I’ve followed throughout my life. Never did I think that one day that box would be a network router.
I’ve always considered myself to be a creative person. In college, I discovered that marketing was the perfect way to channel that thinking into a passion and a career. As someone whose interests revolve around communication and language, I never imagined that one day I would work in the tech industry. In fact, I didn’t consider myself qualified to work in tech because I didn’t hold the traditional “tech” skillset.
Spoiler alert: I was wrong.
Here’s the thing — there is no one way to contribute to the technology field! Even non-techies can be techies.
This industry needs multiple perspectives not only to function, but to progress in the future. That’s something I love about working at Cisco – every day, I’m able to collaborate with people who have a variety of professional backgrounds. I’m given countless opportunities to learn and grow because I get to interact with people who are different than me and think differently than me. That’s how we innovate!
When looking for my first full-time job out of college, I never saw myself working in the field of cybersecurity. How could I possibly be creative when marketing routers and switches? Now, not only does my job allow me to do the creative thinking that I love and longed for in a career, but it also challenges me. It forces me to get uncomfortable, and because of this I’m able to grow! Sure, I may not have all the answers when it comes to the technical details of a solution — that’s okay. That’s an opportunity to collaborate with my more technical peers, and it enables me to gain the information I need to accomplish my task while learning something in the process.
As I look back to reflect on my past year and a half at Cisco, I realize that I am qualified to work in the world of tech, and I am allowed to consider myself a woman in cybersecurity. Because, well, I am! Just in a different way than most may expect. My experiences have helped me come to realize that just because your skills are different, doesn’t mean they’re less valuable. While I often consult my engineering peers for technical explanations, they in turn come to me when they need guidance on things like effectively communicating information to a certain audience. It’s another reason why I #LoveWhereIWork – the more we collaborate, the more we learn from each other.
My advice to those on the hunt for their first job or internship, or maybe even seasoned professionals considering a career change: don’t count yourself out for a position or opportunity because you don’t fit the traditional mold of what you think that field needs. Diversity in experience, in skillsets, and in opinions is something that’s universally needed and something we are constantly looking for here at Cisco!
Don’t be afraid to think outside the box – I’m so glad I did.
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Author: Sarah Adams
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