Sheetal Vanka

08 March 2024

Meet Sheetal. After completing her higher education studies and undertaking several IT-related jobs, she decided that cyber security would be her chosen specialism, thanks to its dynamic nature. Now, she is hoping to be part of a wider movement that showcases the many opportunities that the sector offers to women and men alike, from all backgrounds.

Can you give us a 30-second summary of who you are?

I’m Sheetal, a Principal Consultant at Leonardo. I have progressed my career from entry level to Infosec Lead, and now work on major cyber security programmes at Leonardo. In my spare time, I love listening to music and singing along, even though I am not classed as a singer! I like travelling too.

Why did you pursue a career in cyber and security?

I always wanted to work in Information Technology (IT) and completed my formal education in this field. As my career progressed, and after exploring various jobs, I became passionate about cyber security. The job of a cyber security expert is never complete. Security is constantly changing and is challenging with newly discovered vulnerabilities, threats and exploitations. This dynamic nature keeps me motivated. As a cyber security professional, I want to protect and empower people with the knowledge needed to embrace security-aware behaviour. I believe I am improving other people’s lives and positively contributing to the society.

Tell us about your experience at Leonardo

I joined Leonardo in May 2023 and was immediately assigned to a major telecommunications project. This has involved me working with many consultants and having the opportunity to manage teams and apprentices. I feel the sense of belonging here already. Leonardo offers professional work experience with a wide range of projects and opportunities, along with an extremely nice culture and personnel. With the right attitude, I can only see myself thriving at Leonardo.

How can more women be encouraged to work in cyber and security?

Technical fields have always tended to be less popular choices of careers for women. There is a long-rooted stereotype of IT security being a dark, lonely career. However, cyber security offers a much more diverse range of skills. As a career path, it presents great opportunities for personal development, while also offering good pay. The cyber security industry is booming. With the huge projected growth, it is crucial that a highly-skilled workforce also grows with it. Even more important, is that the workforce is made up of people from diverse backgrounds.

By making the sector more visible and showing women thriving in the industry, we can break the stereotype and increase gender diversity. By encouraging more female role models to positively talk about their professional experiences, by showcasing what they have achieved and what is possible, and by educating people about this industry, we can definitely change the mindset of many women and encourage them to choose a career in cyber and security.