Women in IT: Nada Moussa, Six Degrees Group

Nada didn’t take the most traditional route to information security. She has an undergraduate degree in 3D Design (Jewellery and Silversmithing), and didn’t enter the world of IT until her friend told her she was going “a bit mad”.

“After I had my son, I really needed to go back to work. I went to work for Demon Internet, one of the first ISPs in the UK. It was a pretty ground-breaking company. I had a job in the Customer Services team, dealing with complaints from high-level business clients.”

Nada then moved from Customer Services to Service Delivery. “I moved on to become the Service Delivery Manager’s Assistant. I started looking after clients, but then I also became the ringleader when we had to undergo audits to make sure we had everything we needed ready. I helped implement the ISO 27001 security standard within the company, and my career in information security grew from there.”

Nada recognised her abilities in security and compliance, and for her next job she took on a more specialised role. “I moved on to be a Quality and Compliance Manager dealing specifically with ISO. I spent eight years learning my craft, starting as a complete novice.”

“It’s been an interesting journey…”

Nada’s the first to admit that she couldn’t have predicted the path her career has taken. “It’s been an interesting journey. It happened quite by accident, but here we are all these years later! You don’t necessarily think you’re setting out on this path, but it becomes your field and you become an expert, and you build on it.”

“I didn’t choose this career, but I’ve worked for MSPs for a long time now and when I walk into an IT office I feel very comfortable in it. I understand the lay of the land, and I understand the groups of people that I need to work with.”

Nada enjoys the autonomy her job gives her. “The job that I do is a dark art. There may only be one or two people doing compliance and ISO certifications, and quite often your line manager knows less about what you do so it becomes quite an autonomous role.”

Life at Six Degrees

Nada is relishing the challenges that come with working for a fast-moving company like Six Degrees. “I would find it really boring if Six Degrees was a static company. Six Degrees is a dynamic company, which means that my job always changes. It’s exciting, and I’m constantly involved in new projects.”

“All the people at Six Degrees are really helpful and enthusiastic. People respond to emails, want to come to workshops that I set up, and they’re always interested. At other organisations it’s been a battle, but it works here. People really want to help. It’s a bunch of approachable people on a personal level and on a professional level, and I find that really easy to work with.”

“Six Degrees supports me. They listen when I need support, and they understand that I’m more than just an ISO factory – to make this work we need engagement throughout the business, and they get that.”

Life as a Woman in IT

Nada doesn’t believe that her gender makes any difference to the role she performs. “We encounter men in the street and women in the street. People are tall and people are short. In the workplace it’s the same. Just view yourself as equal, and offer the best of your abilities and skillsets.”

“If you get given respect, you give respect back. If you get treated as a grown up, you act like a grown up.”

But she does have advice for anyone working in IT: share the skills and knowledge that you have. “Offer support and mentorship to people that need it. Now that I’m more experienced, it’s good to share knowledge and give people context behind what we’re doing. That way they feel more enthusiastic and empowered, and you will engage them more.”

Nada has been shortlisted in the Security Champion of the Year category at the Women in IT Awards, taking place in London on 30th January 2019.

 

This blog was originally published on Six Degrees website.

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