By DCMA Information Technology
Dana Mason shares her experience working in cybersecurity for the Defense Contract Management Agency as an inspection program and audit readiness program manager. She has been in the career field for 11 years and encourages women to pursue their career goals. (DCMA graphic by Elizabeth Szoke)
Women have played a critical part in Defense Contract Management Agency’s success and drive to move forward. In reflection of Women’s History Month, the DCMA cybersecurity center highlights the career of one woman within its team who continues to make an impact to network security.
Dana Mason shared her experience working as DCMA’s cybersecurity inspection program and audit readiness program manager.
“I feel like its Super Bowl Sunday every day when working in cybersecurity,” Mason said. “Go hard or go home, no days for scrimmaging.”
Mason’s career has been an evolution, which began 11 years ago where she started out as a cybersecurity policy analyst. Now a program manager, current role is to ensure the cybersecurity center is compliant with security inspector’s assessment requirements.
She said there is always something new to learn and further explains that her father taught her, “If there is a need, find out how to fix it.”
“If they are going to train you, definitely take it,” Mason said. “Always stay on top of your game because emerging threats and the measures to counter those threats change every day.”
Mason said the cybersecurity field can be intimidating. “I remember attending training and conferences and counting the number of women in the room,” Mason said. “Our numbers are far from the majority, but that doesn’t bother me, so don’t let it bother you.”
According to a 2017 study conducted by the Argonne National Laboratory, the national average of women in cybersecurity positions averages between eight and 13 percent. DCMA’s cybersecurity center currently has about 19 percent of its positions filled by women.
“As a leader in the DCMA cybersecurity career field, I'm proud that our organization continues to diversify the workforce,” said Destinee Winslow, DCMA’s IT risk management branch chief. “We hire both talented men and women to protect DCMA from the ever evolving cyberthreats, which could put DCMA, and the information for which we are responsible for protecting, at risk."
For women who want to work in cybersecurity, Mason said there are still many untapped areas in the career field. For those already coming into the field, Mason’s advice is to be proactive, gain IT skills and cybersecurity certifications needed.
“Find those that will uplift you and share your goals,” Mason said. “Focus on your work and make the career your passion, not just a job.”
Watch Mason’s video interview to get a more personal feel on what it’s like to work in the cybersecurity field.
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