A unique insight into the Cyber Skills Enrichment Program’s impact on its participants

We are thrilled that our Gold Sponsor of the TechDiversity Awards, the Cyber Skills Enrichment Program, has offered TechDiversity a unique insight into the program’s impact on its participants.

This opportunity allows us to share inspiring stories of individuals embarking on new journeys in tech, highlighting the critical steps needed to acquire new skills in this rapidly evolving sector. As we strive to bridge the skills gap, these narratives are invaluable in demonstrating the tangible pathways available for aspiring tech professionals.


Didi Fletcher, a recent Cyber Skills Enrichment Program graduate

Didi Fletcher, Cybersecurity Generalist at Cyber Audit Team (Click picture to Didi’s LinkedIn Profile)

Introducing Didi Fletcher, a recent Cyber Skills Enrichment Program graduate who has found a unique entry point into the Cyber Security Industry. Didi, a mother of one, resides in sunny SE QLD. Despite her non-tech background in design and marketing, she boldly decided to transition into the tech field a few years ago. As a woman with neurodiversity, stepping into a predominantly male-dominated industry like tech presents its own set of challenges. Discover how Didi overcame these barriers to become job-ready for a rewarding career in cyber security.


Question and Answer (Q&A)

  1. What inspired you to join the Cyber Skills Enrichment Program, and how did you hear about it?

I have an indirect technical background and I was struggling to show alignment between my skills and experience to the roles I was applying for.

I knew I needed to gain some real-world experience in cyber security to be competitive, and thankfully I came across the Cyber Skills Enrichment Program.

While there are some similar programs out there, I noticed this program was really geared towards helping career-changers and those who come from non-traditional backgrounds get into the industry. They also offered support with the provision of mentors that I could go to if I needed assistance.


  1. Could you describe a typical day or week in the program? What kind of activities or learning experiences stood out for you?

Each week has been so varied, which is one of the things I really love about the program; it’s never boring.  But a typical week usually consists of formal learning sessions that walk us through key concepts, followed by tasks and activities that allow us to work with real-life examples and deliver real outcomes under the guidance of the permanent team members.

The week we took an active role in the security operations centre is a true stand out for me. It was a fast-paced environment, and gave us opportunities to investigate, get curious, and think critically, while completing end-to-end projects.


  1. How has the program impacted your understanding and skills in cybersecurity? Are there any specific areas where you feel you’ve grown the most?

Prior to starting the program, I understood high-level concepts and intentions of cyber GRC, but the program has allowed me to expand that knowledge and add in the technical element of security engineering. After completing the program, I now have experience in various industry tools and understand the actions that can be implemented to protect our communities and businesses from threats.

Cyber Audit Team provided an environment where I could not only develop the hard skills needed to secure IT assets, cloud systems and monitor environments, but where I felt safe enough to ask questions along the way.

Overall, however, and more importantly, my confidence has grown significantly. I have become more resilient, and now when I come to a challenge, I continue to show up, step up and work through the challenge until it is resolved.


  1. In what ways do you believe programs like this contribute to bridging the tech industry’s skills gap, especially concerning the Australian Government’s goal of filling 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030?

Programs like this give individuals a chance, especially those who come from non-traditional backgrounds or under-represented groups. It also fills the gap that many newbies like me face between having the knowledge but no experience. In such a competitive market I am excited to now have the experience I was previously missing, and feel I am in a better position to get into the industry and use my newly acquired skills.


  1. Reflecting on your journey, what advice would you give to others who might be considering a career shift into tech or cybersecurity?

Start today! It was not an overnight transition for me. It’s been a journey of patience and resilience, and I’ve had to make a lot of changes to where I focus my time.

To help me progress towards the career I was seeking, I took on various project opportunities in non-tech related jobs to learn and connect with people that were already where I wanted to be. I also found networking with people online and at events helpful, and I consume tons of podcasts and learning materials.


  1. What inspired your transition from HR and Marketing into the cybersecurity field, and how has your background influenced your approach to cybersecurity?

In previous roles I was often looking after digital platforms in one way or another. But it was after becoming a mother and seeing the various cyber threats that could affect my family that I knew I wanted to strengthen my tech skills so I was better equipped to face any cyber challenges that may arise.

This led me down a path of continuous learning, starting with learning computer networking and building on my foundational system administration skills, which I was also able to take back to my role in HR. This is where I realised, I could turn this into a career. And I am happy I made the switch!

If your team is seeking a passionate and driven individual to join your ranks, look no further! Didi is eager to embark on her first cyber role and bring her fresh perspective to the table. Connect with her on LinkedIn today to explore how she can add value to your team.

Further Reading

Join us as Luli Adeyemo, Executive Director, #TechDiversity, talks with Professor Ernest Foo, School of ICT at Griffith University, and Damian Seaton, Managing Director of Cyber Audit Team, as they explore ‘How the Cyber Skills Enrichment Program is helping those from diverse backgrounds get a foot in the Cyber Security industry door’, read more.

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