Women in ICT

Meet Emily Eckland.

Emily Eckland

Occupation: Managing Editor of Digital Media
Employer: National CyberSecurity Alliance
Memorable Quote: “Our reliance on information technology will only grow in the future.”

Emily Eckland wants you to be safe online and her job proves it! We sat down with her to discuss her career, education, and the importance of the written word.

What is your current job title and what day-to-day activities does this job entail?
As the Managing Editor of Digital Media for the National Cyber Security Alliance, I am in charge of all of our digital properties, including our websites and social media accounts. A typical day for me could be anything from live tweeting at a conference to updating content on our website or interviewing a cybersecurity expert for our blog.

What is your educational background (if any)?

I graduated from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in the United States with a bachelor of science in Journalism.

What experiences led you to your current position?

I have a somewhat unique history because I did not major in a STEM field nor start my career in information technology. I specialized in new media in college and worked as an online journalist for nearly six years. As a journalist, I knew cybersecurity was an important issue and I was interested in learning more about its connection to everyday activities like well-timed traffic lights and public Wi-Fi networks to national security issues. See external video link.

What was the most defining moment of your career?

It’s difficult to pinpoint just one, but it’s great to see a project evolve to something for the greater good. I love to work with multiple stakeholders to develop public service announcements or work on different awareness campaigns or toolkits and see them come to fruition and know they will educate people and help them be safer and more secure online. I recently completed the redesign of our website, www.staysafeonline.org, which was also a big achievement.

What do you find most rewarding about your job?

I enjoy collaborating with people from all sectors – government, industry, non-profit – and working toward a common goal of raising awareness about online safety issues. I also love empowering people with the tools and resources they need to help them and their families become better digital citizens.

What skills are most important for your role?

Writing and communication skills are vital to my position, but I think they also apply to any other position within technology. It’s important to be able to effectively communicate your ideas and work with others no matter what career you pursue. Good organizational skills are also important because I work on a variety of projects at any given moment.

There is a common misconception that ICT is boring; can you give us an example why your job is NOT boring.

My job is anything but boring. I get to work with on a variety of projects and interact with people from all over the world!

Why do you think women are poorly represented in ICT jobs?

I think there needs to be greater emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education for women and greater support when they reach the college level, since many choose a career path after taking a few college classes.
We also need to teach women that having this type of job doesn’t necessarily mean they will be sitting behind a desk coding all day. I am a great example of someone who works in non-technical job in the cybersecurity field. There are many opportunities out there, technical and non-technical alike.

Why do you think girls should learn ICT skills?

Our reliance on information technology and the need for cybersecurity will only grow in the future.

Can you list ‘5’ ICT jobs that you think our readers would love.

1. Chief Security Officer
2. Technology Journalist
3. Director of Social Media for a technology corporation
4. Engineer
5. Cybersecurity Professor

If our readers wanted to pursue a career like yours, what advice/resources would you recommend to them?

I would tell them to learn how to be a good listener and communicator and don’t be afraid to ask questions. A mentor once told me, if you can write, you can do anything. I think that message applies to any job, even one that may deal more with numbers than letters.

If you could conjure up one quote to inspire young women, what would it be?

Positive thinking leads to positive outcomes.