We’re continuing our celebration of Hispanic Heritage month this week by honoring brilliant women in technology-focused careers. This week, we’re recognizing our very own Los Angeles Chapter Secretary, Cristina Collazos. Read on to learn more about Cristina Collazos’ journey as a Cyber Security professional and why she believes in helping those who can’t always help themselves.
Collazos currently works at HireRight in the Governance, Risk, and Compliance Team as a GRC Security Analyst. In fact, this is her first job in cyber security. As a Cyber Security professional, Cristina has experience helping people find solutions and become security aware. Her skills have given her the experience to manage high-stress situations and make sure goals are met.
“I’ve always been interested in computers, but my family didn’t know much about STEM-type careers,” shared Collazos.
One of the biggest challenges she faced was her own insecurities. She didn’t think she would be successful if she tried something new. Another challenge she faced was being a first-generation immigrant. She felt like she had to figure out a lot of stuff on her own. “While I’m grateful for those experiences, it was really hard and felt very lonely at times,” shared Collazos.
Once in college, she took a few computer classes but was discouraged and intimidated by how male-dominated they were. She decided to pursue a degree in Marketing and French instead, which she enjoyed and learned a lot from.
“After college, I was working in the marketing department at a company in Los Angeles. The company decided to let our whole team go. By that time, cyber security had piqued my interest so I took a leap of faith and started a grad program in cyber security,” shared Collazos.
Unfortunately, she didn’t feel like she was getting as much hands-on training as she would have liked and in the middle of her second semester, everything shut down for COVID. “With my family and husband’s support, I took another leap of faith and quit grad school for a hands-on cyber security boot camp instead,” shared Collazos.
Now in her career she knows the importance of being in a women-led network for support. You can find those groups on Facebook or LinkedIn group, depending on what your career interests are. Collazos suggests that you find someone in your network who might have the job you want, talk to them, pick their brain and always have an updated resume.I hope to make a valuable contribution to the Los Angeles chapter for #LatinaGeeks and inspire other Latina women to come and thrive in the world of tech. - Cristina Collazos via @LatinaGeeks Click To Tweet
Collazos started her career in something she liked, then made a career pivot, and moved into a career she now loves. She hopes to make a valuable contribution to the Los Angeles chapter for #LatinaGeeks and inspire other Latina women to come and thrive in the world of tech.
What would she tell younger Collazos? “I would definitely tell her to not be afraid to take risks. I would also tell her to not be ashamed of where she comes from. And finally, I would tell her that patience and perseverance pay off big time,” shared Collazos.