BSides Canberra 2021 with Talenza Cyber
Our two cyber consultants Riki from Sydney (AKA Cyber Riki) and Chelsey from Brisbane (AKA Cyber Chels) met in Canberra to take part in the BSides conference. When our team attend events like this, the agenda is usually similar – meet some candidates, meet some clients, learn some stuff and bring this knowledge home, but this time Riki and Chels have been very upfront that this event was like no other!
When we asked about what the community is like, they described the people they met as inclusive and down to earth. At the same time, they excitedly flaunted the event pass that they *accidently* left in the hotel room (which added a detour to their first day itinerary) and our preconceived assumptions about cyber specialists were all changed.
The pass, featured below on Riki, is a minicomputer hosting games such as Pacman, Snake, Simon Says and Tetris to keep these high functioning attendees occupied in between the killer presentations, in addition to serving as a token memento. After all, cyber specialists are a bunch of curious big kids, but we will get to that later!
Creating Connections and Recognising Potential in Cyber Security
On separate occasions during the event, Riki met with clients who were looking at implementing similar initiatives in their companies, and was able to connect these people to create synergies and start partnerships.
The days of the conference were jam-packed with networking and Riki ended up running into one of his previously-placed candidates. This isn’t an unusual scenario for him after being in the industry for several years, but this woman’s story wasn’t like other candidates.
This candidate had been unemployed for six months before being placed by Riki. Even though she had moved on to other roles since they last spoke, she sought him out to say thanks for helping her because it had really turned her life around. In that role (and every role that she has been in since), she had been headhunted. This only happened because Riki saw her potential, realised her talent and worked with his clients to open the right doors in the industry. In short, he believed in her. Love your work #CyberRiki!
Promoting Women in Cyber
Chels echoed Riki’s thoughts about the event, describing a fun, engaging and insightful few days. She noticed that while there was a clear inequality in gender numbers, there were some women who attended which is great news for the industry. Chels made a special mention of the awesome work companies like 0xCC are doing to upskill women
in cyber security, and there were female-focused events hosted to encourage the attendance of women in a very male-dominated environment.
The scarcity of female talent is something that all companies have top of mind and it is an intricate discussion topic for Chels’ clients, which further highlights why she is passionate about D&I in cyber. Watch this space, because she is actively doing all she can to make sure we start seeing changes industry-wide!
The Next Generation of Cyber Security Talent
Women may have been under-represented at BSides Canberra but in terms of diversity, both of our consultants were impressed by the number of highly-skilled, highly technical, young emerging talent taking part in the event. When we think of events of this nature across different industries, we imagine Gen X and millennials as the predominant participants. For cyber, this isn’t the case, and curiosity is getting the better of Gen Z.
This year at BSides, "Skateboarding Dog" absolutely crushed the CTF challenge. It was awesome to see the next generation of talent doing so well! Congratulations on the win – we, along with the cyber world, are eagerly awaiting to see what you do next.
Despite having different experiences, both Cyber Riki and Cyber Chels agreed that the cyber community is an awesome group to be a part of.
Treating people with respect and ensuring you are working with integrity is key to being a part of this niche but growing space. This community is united by their curiosity to push boundaries and we are so glad to see Riki and Chels be welcomed so warmly and accepted with mutual respect. Thanks for taking us along for the ride BSides! Until next time...