by Sunaina Aytan on 2023-02-27

Women in STEM: Sunaina Aytan, cybersecurity consultant

With over four years of cyber experience under her belt, Sunaina Aytan is a cybersecurity consultant based in Airbus Protect’s Newport campus. In this blog, Sunaina explains more about her route into cyber and what attracted her to Airbus Protect – as well as sharing her training and development top tips.

Tell us about your professional journey so far

An internship programme during my final year of university introduced me to the world of cyber, and I’ve never looked back!

My first role as a graduate was at a managed service company, where I picked up the technical skills and knowledge to perform security testing, as well as some risk consulting experience. 

I then moved into an operations role, where I developed in-depth cloud security and purple teaming expertise.

What challenges did you face when entering the industry? 

The lack of female representation – particularly among management – in my first graduate role definitely triggered imposter syndrome in me. However, it also encouraged me to look for role models elsewhere, and motivated me to get involved in ‘Women in Tech’ spaces to find a mentor and mentor others. 

I now work with several non-profits to highlight the lack of diversity within the tech space, sharing my insights on what should be done to help promote women.

What do you enjoy most about your job?  

Thinking outside the box and constantly developing my skillset. One great thing about cyber is that it never stops growing and evolving. 

Where do you look for inspiration or to continue learning? 

I’m connected to a range of tech communities which help me keep up to date with emerging technologies and upcoming networking events. 

To improve my technical skillset, I also use online platforms like HackTheBox and TryHackMe, as well as studying for the certifications I need for my current role. 

What new skills have you been able to develop since joining Airbus as a cybersecurity consultant? 

Airbus has introduced me to the OT space, as well as opened my eyes to cutting-edge technologies that are being developed to streamline and improve cybersecurity processes. 

What attracted you to Airbus Protect and its key pillars – safety, sustainability and cybersecurity? 

When you’re pushing boundaries with new technology, there’s inevitably a degree of cybersecurity and safety risk involved. In this way, you can think of cyber as an innovation-enabler, which is exactly how it feels here at Airbus Protect. 

It’s also important to address the possible negative impacts of technology on the environment. I love reading about how companies like Airbus Protect are tackling the issue of sustainability and developing methodologies that can be adopted by other businesses.

What attributes make someone a great candidate for a role in cyber?

As cybersecurity is a rapidly growing industry, it’s important to have the motivation to stay up to date with new developments, spend time reading about emerging technologies and attend technical events where you can grow your network. 

But being a good cybersecurity consultant is about more than technical knowledge. It’s about having an analytical thought process that’s solution-focused, as well as being able to communicate clearly and convincingly with both technical and non-technical people. 

What advice would you give to somebody who’s thinking about a cybersecurity career?

This isn’t said often enough, but there’s space for people from all professions and backgrounds in cyber. You don’t even need to be particularly technical to have a successful cybersecurity career. There are roles for everyone, as long as you’re interested in security and understand its importance. 

Interested in taking the next leap in your cyber career? See our current job openings here.

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