PyLadies Night with Febisola Olanipekun

PyLadies Night with Febisola Olanipekun

Febisola Olanipekun is a Graduate of Economics from Achievers University in Ondo State, Nigeria. She started her career working as a payroll analyst in a startup while she was learning Data Analysis. After 2 years, she got a Data Analyst job but it was not what she wanted.

In 2018, a friend who knows how much she was fascinated about ‘hacking’ told her about She Secures Bootcamp which she attended. And there, her journey began. At the moment, she works as a Security Operation Center (SOC) Analyst in a Cyber Security firm in Lagos, Nigeria.

We've heard quite a number of things about you, but can you please describe yourself to the house in 3 words?

Haha! This question had me doing self-survey...I will say curious, resourceful and adventurous.

Okay, I’m particular about one word you chose, “adventurous”, why?

I know some describe me as polymathic, but nah …lol. Being adventurous got me into Cyber Security! But aside that, I love to travel explore, climb rocks, learn new things and do things differently

Interesting, but are you trying to say that if someone is not adventurous, they can’t venture into cyber security**?**

I have met many who think it is daring to have studied Economics and end up in Cyber Security. for me, it is fun!

Why did you leave your Economics background to pursue Cybersecurity**?**

First, I wanted to do investment banking. I could use Microsoft excel very well and build basic models but I hated accounting. I was not interested in all the cash flow and other jargons. Secondly, I wanted to do Economic Research. I think it is one of the hardest fields to get in as an entry -level job seeker. So, I had always been a lover of tech from my undergraduate days and I told anyone around me who cares to listen. I had a friend list out the path in tech and guess which fascinated me the most? H**acking**

So, when did the urge for hacking start? Was it in the university?

I used to assist the guy that fixes things at the ICT department of my university. Getting things to work by passing the screws and holding things for him. He said I could be in a position to help people "secure" and "break" into things on the internet. I was really marveled. Actually, the discussion died down. Months later, he sent me a link to attend a boot camp organized by She Secures.

So Feb**i, will you say that this guy was, or is your mentor, because it’s clear he laid down the path for you to follow, and here you are. Or did you have another mentor(s) in tech**?

So, being a friend is different from being a mentor, right? but both can happen.

He is a programmer. At the bootcamp, I met new people and I ensured to retain and maintain the network of people. Someone said I was very tenacious and picked interest in me to mentor me. I have him as a mentor and 2 other people as accountability partner**.**

That’s great opportunity for you in there. Would you like to be a mentor to anyone interested?

It is, really

I will be happy to. One person for starters.

What is your portfolio at your current workplace, how is the experience in there like, are there ladies too or it’s a man’s world?

I work as a SOC (Security Operation Center) Analyst and it has been an interesting experience so far. There is so much to learn. I have 4 amazing female colleagues but it is a ratio of 1:10. One amazing thing in the field that I have observed is that arms are wide open from the male folks to teach and help you grow.

That’s encouraging. Febisola do you have any words of motivation for the young cyber security enthusiasts**?**

I used to bring myself down in my thoughts that I am old (I clocked 27 this year and I got in here at 26) ….my former team lead was 24 and I had to play a lot of emotional intelligence (EL).

Do not tear yourself down. If you don’t know it, you are not dumb. Google will never laugh at you, I promise. Ask questions, good questions. Research, be confident. Your soft skills outside of cyber security matter a lot, you will find them handy sometimes. e.g. I shine in preparing reports because of data analysis skills

You can get overwhelmed, learn in bits. Work with timeline for yourself


What should I learn for cybersecurity?

GitHub link where different people shared about getting into cyber security (

I also took a course on Edx after the Bootcamp. It really helped me when I had conversations during interviews.(

How can one enter the cybersecurity field with no experience?

Read! update your CV, self-improvement / personal development. The reality is that there are so many free resources out there. Don’t let the ones that you can’t afford slow you down. You will get them later.

The way hacking and security is portrayed in our movies and society it looks like it’s for some kind of geeks and smart people. Is that the case or it’s just a stereotype**?**

Far from what you see in movies, they did not bring the skills from mama’s womb. It was all learnt. So, all you need to do is learn … dazzal!!

Big thank you on behalf of PyLadies Ghana, for honoring our invitation and sharing with us your experiences. We have learnt a lot and are equally motivated as well!