Zhao Wan, a 25-year-old cybersecurity engineer at Alibaba Group, spoke with China Daily reporterCao Yinabout how she began her career in the industry, why she loves the job, and what she needs most in the industry.
I am passionate and proud about being a security engineer fighting against those who use software vulnerabilities to engage in illegal activities online. And I am the only female cybersecurity engineer on my team.
Every time I solve a cybersecurity problem with the 10 colleagues on my team, I feel a great sense of achievement - my job is amazing.
For example, online shopping platforms encourage netizens to buy more things by offering discounts. Each user has one chance to enjoy the deal. But some cyberattackers steal other users' opportunities by breaking into the platforms' systems or using online vulnerabilities.
My job is to study how the attackers break into the systems and build a safer platform by using big data and artificial intelligence to keep netizens safe from such online risks.
Different from simple computer programming jobs, I think mine is more cool and glamorous, because it is new and filled with challenges every day.
This challenging job brings me pressure, as no one can be sure when an online threat will happen and what kind of threat it will be. The uncertainty means I have to be on constant standby.
To reduce stress, I like to go dancing or play sports in my spare time.
If you asked me how and when I first came to be attracted to cybersecurity, I can trace it back to 2012, the year I sat for the national college entrance exams.
At that time, I watched Phantom, a South Korean television show about a group of investigators combating online crimes. I also heard security-related industries would have a bright future, according to advice from one of my relatives who worked for an internet company.
So, I finally chose to study cybersecurity at Xi'an University after I graduated from high school in Weinan, Shaanxi province. From then on, I have been a security enthusiast.
I studied basic security knowledge in class, such as computer programming and security policies. Also, I joined a group established by many excellent students who joined well-known security enterprises after graduating, as I wanted to network with people engaged in the industry.
Thanks to the group, I learned more about hot security issues from the graduates than my classmates. Meanwhile, the graduates' work experience also encouraged me, helping me a lot when it came to choosing a job.
After all, security is a broad sector covering many kinds of technical fields. So, the earlier a student can identify the specific industry he or she dreams of working in, the better he or she can apply skills to his or her future job.
Right now, my challenge is to find a dance partner to enjoy my spare time with after work.