Women Making History in Cybersecurity: Parisa Tabriz

In September 2021, Girls Who Code partnered with the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) to develop pathways for young women to pursue careers in cybersecurity and technology. This partnership seeks to tackle diversity disparities by heightening the awareness of cybersecurity and technology careers and working with employers to build tangible pathways for young women, especially young women of color, to get hands-on experience in the private sector and the non-profit sector or government.

Our first collaborative initiative is a series of features of women who work in the cybersecurity field, including the exciting work CISA employees are doing. Today we’re spotlighting Parisa Tabriz, a computer security expert and Google’s “Security Princess,” who manages all of Chrome Browser and Project Zero, a security research team.

How and why did you pursue a cybersecurity career?

I got into cybersecurity because a web application I built in college got hacked and defaced by spammers, and I was curious what happened! I joined a security-focused club to learn more, and I ended up learning about hacking and system security and meeting fellow students that became close friends. I joined Google to apply some of my security experience and help improve the security of software and products because keeping people safe as they used technology felt like a useful and important thing to do.

Can you tell us about your job? What’s your day-to-day like?

Today, I manage all of Chrome Browser and Project Zero, a security research team. Every day brings a different challenge, ranking from tactical decisions to strategic planning to meetings with teams to problem-solve together. At a high level, I’m constantly thinking about how to keep people around the world safe as they use Chrome and the Internet. You can read more at my published work diary here.

What are your favorite aspects of your job specifically, and working in cybersecurity generally?

One of my favorite aspects of work in cybersecurity is how interdisciplinary it is. I come from an engineering background and tend to approach problems with that lens, but I work closely with product managers, designers, user researchers, lawyers, experts in communications, marketing, policy, sales, and many other disciplines. I love working on problems that require lots of different perspectives to solve.

Why do you think young women should consider a career in cybersecurity?

Working in cybersecurity means you’re constantly learning, working with others to tackle complex, meaningful problems at an Internet-wide and worldwide scale, and keeping people safe. There is definitely more demand than talent in today’s job market, so you’re also likely to have lots of job opportunities!

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