C-Suite Career Advice: Caroline Wong, Security Initiatives Director, Citigal, Inc.

Career advice from industry leading C-suite professionals

We ask industry leading C-suite professionals for their expert career advice...

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Caroline Wong, CISSP

  Company: Cigital, Inc.

  Job Title: Security Initiatives Director

  Location: Santa Clara, CA


What was the most valuable piece of career advice that you received?
Focus on your strengths, particularly ones that are valuable to today’s market due to specialized expertise, technical skills, creative thinking, or effective communication.  Surround yourself with people who are good at the things that you’re not.

What advice would you give to someone starting their career in the tech industry? 
Think about what kind of job you’d like to do in 2-5 years.  Research the job requirements on job search sites like Monster.com which are looking to hire today.  Study the job description and make a personal action plan to begin building your resume to acquire the experience, skills, and labels needed to get to where you want to be.

What tips would you give to someone aiming for a c-level position? 
Every leader needs perspective, effective communication, and skills in talent recruitment and management.  To gain perspective, try working in different roles – customer facing, operational, sales and marketing, etc..  Pursue work experiences that teach you what a business problem looks like from different sides of the table.  For example, gather expertise as a buyer and as a vendor in the same space.  Hone your communication skills via all avenues – master the art of the in person meeting but also the conference call and the email.  Finally, you can’t do everything yourself.  Find and hire a strong team that you can work with every day.   

Are you particularly proud of any career advice that you’ve given or the career route/development of anyone you’ve mentored?
10 years ago, 20 years ago, I could have never imagined or wished for the type of profession or lifestyle that I have today.  The advice that I give to students and young professionals is to keep an open mind and to “cast a big net.”  I think that finding the right job can be like dating in some ways – there are always so many factors outside of your control (going up against another great candidate, hiring manager already had someone in mind, timing or location or culture fit isn’t quite right, etc.).  But what we can each control is how many positions we look into, how many jobs we apply for, how many doors we knock on to see what’s on the other side.  This kind of opportunistic approach is what I’ve benefitted from throughout my career and it’s what I tell my mentees.