Celebrating LGBTQ+ Pride by highlighting voices in our community: Mira Kali

In honor of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer (LGBTQ+) Pride Month, we want to celebrate the local LGBTQ+ tech community. Introducing Mira Kali (she/her)! With over five years of experience in tech, she works in cyber security as a Security Consultant and is an amazing member of LBWiT. She also participated in the AT&T hackathon with a team and won first place.

One of our members, Mira Kali

How did you get started in your tech career?

By going through codecademy.com courses and CompTia certifications. 
I got my first job volunteering for the local LGBT Center. I was helping them with running their cyber cafe on my days off while working as a bartender full time. 
Currently, my area of expertise is Offensive cyber security/penetration testing.

As a Security Consultant, what problems are you solving?

Helping companies to really see the impact of a potential breach. It’s one thing to just follow security guidelines just because your job requires you to, and it’s totally different to actually see what would happen if you don’t follow it. Or, as a C suite, what would happen if you don’t invest in security of your business. 

What does a day in the life of a Security Consultant look like?

It depends on what phase of the engagement I’m currently at. Typically I have a week to complete a project. This includes doing open source intelligence gathering on the company, checking for any data breaches or sensitive information that the company might not be aware of. Then I move to automated and manual testing of the assets in scope, write a report, send it to QA and deliver it to the client. After all is done, my PM(project manager) would schedule a readout call with the client to go over the findings and suggested remediation.  

We’ve heard the term hacking, but what is ethical hacking and why is it important?

Ethical hackers are hired by companies to reproduce potential attackers’ steps to gain unauthorized access to their systems, like WWHD(what would a hacker do). This helps companies to better understand their weaker spots and adjust their security focus accordingly.  

If you could wave a magic wand and solve one problem in tech, what would it be?

Diversity! That’s a selfish answer. 🙂 It’s boring being the only woman on the team. My close second wish is to stop companies from storing customer information and give the user control over their data. This will make data breaches obsolete. A solution like uPort already makes it possible to verify identities in this way(I’m not affiliated with them, just a big fan of their work in privacy).

How exciting! What is the best advice someone’s given you?

No one really knows what they are doing and probably also have imposter syndrome in one area or another, no matter years of experience.

Great food for thought. What’s the worst advice?

You can’t get a good job in tech as a woman. Additionally, you need to know C, Assembly, and/or have at least 5 years of experience in IT/programming to get started in cyber security.

Yikes! What advice would you give to others that want to follow in your professional footsteps?

Don’t listen to whoever says that you need years of experience in IT/programming to start working in cyber security. There are plenty of junior positions out there that you can get today. 

Any nuggets of wisdom you’d like to share with the world?

Don’t reuse passwords! 🙂

Thank you Mira Kali for sharing your story. ❤️ You can find her on Twitter and Medium.

Diversity and inclusion is very important to Long Beach Women in Tech. Not only does a diverse team lead to more innovation, it contributes to the civil rights movement by including more voices that can benefit in creating or using technology. The power of technology has been shown to increase advocacy and provide equal access to opportunities. The LGBTQ+ community has faced a lot of challenges in tech and groups like Lesbians Who Tech, Trans Tech Social, and Out in Tech provide specialized support to individuals in the tech community.

Long Beach Women in Tech is a community of strong and diverse women, non-binary individuals, and allies. We represent many different sectors of technology with a wide range of experience levels. As a community, we are committed to sharing knowledge and increasing our numbers in technology. We are also devoted to providing a platform for the community, especially minorities in tech and those who come from a non-traditional background.

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