Turning Curiosity into a Career: Employee Spotlight on Lynn Wang
Note: Verizon Media is now known as Yahoo.
There’s no single path to any career — especially cybersecurity. Just ask Lynn Wang.
Not long after graduating with a Master of Studies in Law from UC Hastings, she knew the legal profession wasn’t a lifelong pursuit. However, around that time, she became curious about the hyper-personal role technology companies play in our collective lives.
The way firms — like Yahoo — use data. And, as Lynn describes, she became passionate about what she could do to help protect that data.
So, at the start of the pandemic, she began networking with security professionals. Identifying them through LinkedIn, she reached out for the equivalent of coffee. Virtually, of course.
After more than a year, Lynn was introduced to an influential Paranoid that helped her chart a course.
In January, Lynn was hired as part of the Paranoids’ Governance, Risk, and Compliance pillar. She primarily reviews contractual security terms with Yahoo clients, vendors, and partners.
Learn more about her and her work to safeguard all the things you love about Yahoo:
Q: You didn’t start in cybersecurity; what were you doing before?
LW: My first job after college was in hospitality. But, I went to get my masters. And once I was finished, I started working in legal operations at Wells Fargo.
Q: What skills did you find that are transferable?
LW: For me, there are three core skills that I took from law to security: operations, customer service, and the ability to decipher policy.
I’ll break them down. An operations role — practically, for me — focuses on discovering the most efficient way to solve problems and make sure the work adheres to standards.
Meanwhile, customer service is rooted in resolving requests. And my past experience helped me to find out a way to solve customer problems accurately while achieving customer satisfaction.
And, finally, a good understanding of policies and regulations: the knowledge and practical experience I acquired at UC Hastings and within the financial services industry aided my ability to interpret policies and regulations. This comes in handy in helping internal customers review security terms in contracts.
Q: How did you find the Paranoids?
LW: My mentor at Cyversity was actually the Chief Paranoid, Sean Zadig. He helped me find an open position at Yahoo that really fit my career goals. And, honestly, I just quickly applied without hesitation.
Q: What’s Cyversity — and how did you find it?
LW: When I was having an informational interview with someone, they told me Cyversity is a great organization. It offers resources to people from underrepresented groups within information security.
I visited their website and applied for the mentorship program. Luckily, I was matched with Sean, and he helped me shape my ideal role.
Q: I know you’re taking part in a different mentorship program — inside the Paranoids — for folks that are early on in their career. How is that going?
LW: Yes, I think you are mentioning the “New Hire Mentor” program. My new hire mentor gave me great help in landing my new role smoothly and fitting in faster.
My mentor helped me really get to know the department. And, rather than just giving me broad advice, coached me into doing the specific job.
Q: You’ve mentioned culture a lot — what are the best parts of the Paranoids’ culture?
LW: A big part of culture isn’t what people say they’re doing, but what they actually do. And, here, everyone is really big on trust and support.
I really feel like everyone’s voice and ideas are valued here. No matter whether you are a new member or not.
And I know I have a team who is supporting me; I can ask them for help whenever I need it. Especially my manager, who always shows support and makes sure I can work happily every day.
There’s also a premium placed on collaboration. My team members are patient in teaching me and spend hours answering questions I have. For some hard cases, we took on different pieces initially, solved the various pieces through discussion, and then collected all the pieces to solve the big puzzle.
Q: What would you tell people considering cybersecurity as a career path?
LW: Well, I have a lot to share on this topic, and I think the most important takeaways are knowing your passion and finding where you fit in.
If you are considering cybersecurity as your career path, you can set up informational interviews with industry experts to ask them questions that can help you understand the real day-to-day life of work.
You can attend industry events to understand what cybersecurity is and what you potentially are fighting for. Those will help you determine whether it’s still attractive for you and whether that’s where your passion lies.
Additionally, cybersecurity isn’t a monolith; you need to find what your ideal role is.
If you are a new grad, think about what knowledge and skills you studied in school that matches the job description of a specific position.
If you are a career changer, like me, think about the skills you have, research the job description, and cross-reference its required skills with the skills you have to find out if it could be a good fit for you.
For example, I think reviewing contracts needs someone who is detail-oriented. That fits me. I really care about every detail.
WE’RE HIRING! The Paranoids are committed to diversity and inclusion on our mission to defend all the things you love most about Yahoo from cybersecurity threats.
You can find all of our OPEN ROLES at theparanoids.com/jobs!