We conclude our series featuring women in tech at Imperva with an interview with Jerusalem Bicha, network operations team lead at Imperva. We talked about her path to a career in cybersecurity.
Tell us how you got into cybersecurity.
JB: I actually don’t have a degree. My career in cybersecurity happened by accident when I served in the Israeli Army. I had no experience with computers before I joined the service, but I was assigned to a computer/network help desk position because of an aptitude test I took.
After my two-year commitment in the Army was over, I acquired a Microsoft Certified IT Professional certification (MCITP) and started working for a private sector ISP. As part of my MCITP training, I took a bonus course and got my Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) certificate. That’s when I basically fell in love with networking.
Eventually I moved to the business support team at my job and worked on advanced networking tickets. From there I accepted further promotions to different teams within the business support center until I reached the highest escalation team. I loved what I was doing.
One of my co-workers was Maya Ventura who started working at Imperva. She posted on Facebook that the company was hiring a network engineer position. I wasn’t really looking for a new job but the position looked interesting. I got an interview and really loved the vibe at the office. And here I am!
What do you love about your job?
JB: I love the fact that it’s never boring. There’s rarely a day I can say I don’t have anything to do and I love it. I (still) love the vibe and I love the fact that we keep growing and growing. It’s amazing to see how far we’ve come over the past two years.
What do you find to be the most challenging?
JB: There’s a lot of work to be done to keep growing and improving and maintaining what we have. There are a lot of requests coming from departments and customers and we need to keep up with everything and juggle priorities to keep everybody happy. But it’s all part of the job and it keeps everything interesting.
Who was one of your biggest mentors and why?
JB: That’s a hard question to answer. I don’t have one specific person I can point to. There have been a lot of people along the way who’ve helped me.
There’s my family, of course. They’re a big part of everything I do. They encourage me to do my best and they’ve always believed in me. And there’s my boyfriend of almost eight years. He’s always been there for me and given me support.
Beyond that, I had two managers and a trainer at my first job at the ISP who believed in me and made sure I kept going. My co-workers are great too. I’ve grown so much over the years, both personally and professionally.
How has the cybersecurity industry changed over the course of your career?
JB: Well, I’m less a cybersecurity person and more of a networking person. But my team and I maintain the infrastructure for the Imperva Incapsula service. So, I’ve seen what the changes and challenges have been over the years.
When I joined the company, Incapsula had around 25 PoPs – which equaled about 1Tb of capacity. It wasn’t much data storage, but we worked with what we had. At that time, we had to manually go into the network to mitigate DDoS attacks.
I remember a particular Black Friday event back in 2015. We were up all night fighting the attack, distributing it, and isolating it. Network attacks were becoming more sophisticated and larger. We had to work hard to keep up.
Now our global network is at 40 PoPs and we’re adding more all the time – almost 6Tb and counting. As a company, we’ve worked hard to make sure we can mitigate a network attack automatically. We’re now prepared.
More in the series
Women in Tech and Career Spotlight: Michal Pal
Women in Tech and Career Spotlight: Luda Lazar
Women in Tech and Career Spotlight: Shu White
Women in Tech and Career Spotlight: Candice Carter
Women in Tech and Career Spotlight: Shiri Margel
Women in Tech and Career Spotlight: Inna Shalom