On Friday 13 November 2020, W4C launched its series of Masterclasses, starting the first one with Christine Skropke, Head of Public Affairs at secunet Security Networks AG
During our first masterclass, Christine Skropke shared her personal experience and challenges in cybersecurity. After a twenty-year career in the banking sector, she joined Secunet in 2009 with no IT knowledge as responsible for marketing and communications. Since 2017 she is Head of Public Affairs for Secunet Security Networks AG, which means that she carries the political effort of Secunet’s relationship with stakeholders.
Christine describes her job as translating the technical language into regular language so that politicians can understand the big picture and take the right decisions. In a sector with a strong technical component, soft skills are often overlooked, but the interdisciplinary work is equally important as you need to connect all corners of an organisation to succeed.
Her main advice to thrive in cybersecurity without technical skills is to be very aware of both your knowledge and strengths as well as your technical limitations. Paying attention to the context and interconnecting points to see the big picture is also very relevant. And finally, to succeed in any field, being an authentic and trustworthy person is a must. The most common challenge she has faced being a woman in cybersecurity – which is applicable to any male-dominated field – has been not to be taken seriously. Albeit being one of the rare women in meetings can also be used to your own advantage, as Christine said,
“They always remember my face.”
Christine’s presentation was followed by a fruitful exchange full of advice and recommendations on the lines of how to start a career in cybersecurity coming from a different background, technical skills to prioritise and so on.
“Not having technical skills means that you should not apply to a technical position, but there is nothing stopping you from applying to a technical company.”