Workhuman’s Robyn Murphy talks about why she switched from supply chain to infosec and the biggest challenges she has faced along the way.
Having worked for Workhuman for more than four and a half years, Robyn Murphy had been in supply chain and merchandise roles. However, she wanted to move into a more technical position and so she started reaching out to people across the business to find out which area might suit her best.
When a role opened up for an IT security analyst, she noticed how many transferrable skills she had that suited the job specifications. After speaking with a few members of the infosec team, she realised it checked all the boxes of what she wanted, including a challenging, defined career path and ongoing opportunities to grow.
‘Now I don’t just have a job, I have a career for life’
– ROBYN MURPHY
What experience led you to the role you now have?
During my time working in supply chain, I realised I was always eager to find the quickest and most efficient way to do our daily processes. I started googling how to automate certain tasks, which lead me to teaching myself PowerShell scripting (a cheeky copy and paste from Stack Overflow never hurt anyone) and running projects to get these new automated processes in place.
In supply chain, we deal with a lot of sensitive customer data, so throughout the whole project management piece, I had to ensure that the new processes met our security standards and ensured our customers’ safety.
So, I had a bit of experience working in conjunction with the infosec team as they had to review my projects before implementation. This really helped build a rapport with the team, which benefitted me during the interview process.
What were the biggest challenges you encountered on your career path?
One of the main challenges I faced was trying to figure out what I wanted out of my career. I first came to Workhuman because I needed a job. I was only 22 and had no idea what I wanted to do.
Working on the supply chain team helped me realise what I was good at and what I liked doing. From there, it was all about researching where I could go with the skills I’d gained and learned.
Talking with various people across the business, from product to QA to e-commerce to global business systems to learning and development to customer success really helped put all those roles into perspective.
From there I was able to make an informed decision about what I wanted to do. Now I don’t just have a job, I have a career for life in one of the most exciting and ever-growing specialties of technology!
Was there any one person who was particularly influential as your career developed?
It’s hard to pinpoint it down to one person as Workhuman is a company where everyone wants to see you grow and succeed.
There have been so many people that have encouraged me and helped guide me along the way. Sarah O’Neill, Shane Heelan, Thais Cavalcante, Agi Labocha, Orlagh Lynch, Liam Farrell, Dermot Byrne – the list could go on and on!
What do you enjoy about your job?
What I enjoy most about infosec is that no two days are the same. There is always something new to learn or research and new challenges that keeps you on your toes.
The cybersecurity landscape is changing and evolving every day, which means there is plenty of variety in what we do! There is unlimited potential to grow within infosec and explore different avenues of security, from compliance to risk assessment, from investigator to educator.
On top of that is experiencing the real-world impact of the security threats you read in the news. For example, Log4J wasn’t just a headline, it was a serious threat that required everyone to spring into action and collaborate to protect the organisation. While hectic, it was also a very exciting, fast-paced environment to work in and learn along the way.
What aspects of your personality do you feel make you suited to this job?
I’m naturally quite a logical person and can visualise big-picture ideas while also being able to break them down to the sum of their parts. I find this really helps in a role that can be so varied and exact at the same time.
I love problem-solving and have a passion for continuous learning, which are key aspects of my role and working in security.
How did Workhuman support you on your career path?
I think one of the best things about Workhuman is the endless opportunities to network and collaborate across various functions within the business. These can be through our various employee resource groups and interest groups or our company-wide hackathons and events.
These opportunities can really help you to define what it is you want out of your career and set clear goals that will help you to achieve it. One of those goals for me was getting a master’s, which was a lot to take on while working full time.
But Workhuman made it possible by supporting me through funding, adapting my work hours to ensure I was able to attend classes and collaborating on my thesis research.
What advice would you give to those considering a career in security?
Do the research and don’t be afraid to ask questions! Try and find people within security or any industry that you are interested in and ask them about their own career journeys, do they enjoy what they do, what aspects of it do they love and why etc.
This can really help you focus on where you want to be in two, five or even 10 years’ time. Once you know where you want to go with your career, be strategic about getting there. Find out what skills you can gain in your current role that are transferrable to security and develop them.
Whether its communication, problem-solving or scripting, you can go where you want to go if you’re eager to learn and determined to take charge of your own career path.
Don’t miss out on the knowledge you need to succeed. Sign up for the Daily Brief, Silicon Republic’s digest of need-to-know sci-tech news.