Kirsty Perrett: A Trailblazer in Cybersecurity, Breaking Stereotypes & Igniting Change

by | Sep 2, 2023

In today’s digital world where cyber threats pose big risks, the demand for skilled people in cybersecurity is very high. Unfortunately, there is a gender imbalance in the industry that slows progress. However, there are exceptional individuals like Kirsty Perrett, a Lead Cyber Engineer at Thales, who are breaking barriers and inspiring women to choose careers in this important field.

Kirsty’s path to cybersecurity was not normal. At first, she studied Biomedical Science, but then she realized her true passion for cybersecurity and dropped out after just one day. Kirsty found that the industry, which is often thought to need strong math skills, is actually open to people from diverse backgrounds and talents.

At Thales, Kirsty has a key role in handling cyber incidents and making sure critical systems are secure. Her job is not just a job; it has a big impact on our lives. Kirsty believes that anyone, no matter where they come from, should think about joining the cybersecurity profession. To support this belief, she actively takes part in different initiatives, like showing customers, visiting clients around the world, teaching cyber skills to students, and helping to develop the next generation of cybersecurity experts.

Knowing that there is an urgent need for a more diverse workforce, Kirsty actively takes part in women in cyber groups. These groups offer chances to meet people and get support for those who want to enter or move forward in the field. These initiatives give women a place to connect, share experiences, and support each other in an industry that has mostly been dominated by men.

One thing Kirsty learned early on was the mistaken belief that you need to be really good at math to have a career in cybersecurity. She shows that this is not true by saying that hands-on experience and practical skills are valuable. While having a degree can help, Kirsty believes that passion and self-investment are important for success in cybersecurity. This mindset has opened doors for people from different backgrounds to join the profession and bring their own unique perspectives.

Before going into cybersecurity, Kirsty worked for the National Health Service (NHS) and saw firsthand the real impact of cyber attacks, like the infamous WannaCry incident. This made her even more determined to protect important systems and inspired her to choose a career in cybersecurity. Kirsty’s unwavering dedication to keeping sensitive data and systems safe reminds us of how important cybersecurity professionals are in our highly connected world.

To increase her expertise even more, Kirsty is doing a Ph.D. in cybersecurity sponsored by Thales. This shows her commitment to always learning and developing professionally, and it sets an example for aspiring cybersecurity professionals. It shows the importance of having a thirst for knowledge and growth to achieve success.

While the cybersecurity industry still needs to work on getting better gender balance, attitudes are slowly changing. Trailblazers like Kirsty Perrett are leading the way, challenging stereotypes and inspiring women and girls to think about careers in this important field. By talking about the importance of skills and merit, Kirsty encourages a diverse range of people to bring their unique talents to the cybersecurity world.

As the world becomes more reliant on technology, the need for a strong and diverse cybersecurity workforce is more important than ever. Kirsty Perrett’s journey gives us hope and shows that anyone, no matter their gender or background, can succeed in this ever-changing industry. It’s up to all of us to embrace and support the contributions of women in cybersecurity, making sure we have a safer and more secure digital future for everyone.