Published: March 24, 2020
Dilara Madinger

Dilara Madinger is an Alumni of the ITP program who focused on network security during her Master’s degree. She is currently an Application Engineer at Kelvin, Inc., and is focusing on contributing to a diverse range of projects and solving real-world challenges. Recently, TCP got a chance to talk to Dilara about her experience in the TCP program and her career path. 

What made you choose the TCP program?
I was taking a Unix class for my undergrad CS degree. This class was taught by Professor McManus and he kept telling me that I should do a Masters degree with ITP. I was not even considering that option, but somehow he persuaded me.

What has your career experience been like? 
It has been truly fantastic. While getting my degree, I was interning at the Mobile Department at Webroot. The team was so professional and superb, I learned tons from those engineers. After graduating and finishing my internship, I began working for Kelvin Inc. in an industrial automation space. Being a San Francisco start up, it has no departments that handle various parts of business. Even though I started as an engineer, I did all kinds of jobs for Kelvin: set up the support team and processes, evaluate hardware for security, parse through various certifications requirements, implemented those requirements into our systems. Now I am working with security policies and implementations. 

If you could talk to a woman considering a career in cybersecurity, what would you tell her?
Being from Russia, one traditional phrase kept me going: "Hard in training, easy in battle." This is so true in my short experience. The material is hard and dry, but the job is interesting and fulfilling. Plus it is quite competitive. Woman or not, this is a great field to be in.

How has your experience in the TCP program affected you and your career path?
I truly did not enjoy getting that Master's degree. Being an adult, I went as fast as possible through my undergraduate degrees just to get done. Adding another degree was really hard for me and my family. Frankly, I was ready to drop this many times. It was Professor McManus at school telling me that I can do it and my husband at home saying that it is ok to fail, but not ok to give up. I am super thankful to both of them, because it was totally worth it. Right away at my first job, all of those skills came in handy - be it recognizing security drawbacks and fixing them or being able to communicate technological ideas among various groups of people. I really appreciate the attitude of humanity that McManus taught us - work with people to make your company secure, be approachable and helpful. This attitude is definitely right and needs to be used by more security professionals.

Any other comments?
Aside from my career, ITP has been amazing for my personal growth. One class has really changed my thinking - Telecommunications Policy class taught by Dr. Reed. He showed us how to evaluate policies, try to understand unintended consequences, and identify values. Now, I cannot think about politics in black-and-white terms as I did before. I cannot even start thinking about a politician's policy without reading extensively on that policy implementation and other details. Thank you for making the world more complicated for me!

Dilara Madinger is an incredible alumni of the TCP program and her career experience shows how truly rewarding this field can be. You can learn more abou Dilara on her LinkedIn page.