In line with Trend Micro’s vision to foster an environment of equity and inclusion and close the cybersecurity skills gap in the country, DECODE 2022 saw the return of two key track sessions spotlighting women and students in the field of IT and cybersecurity, Get IT Girl! and Cyber Defense Society.

“We are dedicated to our mission of closing the cybersecurity skills gap in the Philippines and truly believe that this begins with empowering and providing opportunities for women and the youth to expand their knowledge and inspire them to become leaders in the industry,” shared Poi Jimenez, Digital Technology Marketing and Employer Branding Manager of Trend Micro PH and Founder of Get IT Girl!.

The two special sessions covered current trends in the IT field and featured speakers and activities to cater to the over 187 women and over 800 students in attendance. This year, Get IT Girl! centered on the Metaverse and Web 3.0, while the student track “Cyber Defense Society” introduced students to Trend Micro and gave attendees a glimpse of a career in cybersecurity.

Women in Tech: Navigating the Metaverse

Following Nesthy Petecio’s empowering message of hope for the attendees of last year’s Get IT Girl! session, this year’s talk featured Luna Javier and Myrtle Anne Ramos who spoke about their experience as trailblazing Filipinas in Blockchain and gaming in the Metaverse.

Luna Javier is the first female game developer in the Philippines and is the Co-Founder-slash-Creative Director of leading Blockchain game studio Altitude Games. Javier shared how she started out –a communications graduate looking to write screenplays that ended up becoming the first female game developer in the country, and how games have developed throughout the years ultimately leading up to the Blockchain games she currently develops with her company today.

Myrtle Anne Ramos, Founder and CEO of Block Tides and play-to-earn game universe PlaceWar, also spoke about how she ended up in the tech industry despite her parents’ want for her to take up nursing. Like Javier, Ramos also got into blockchain by chance and spent years of independent studying to become the expert that she is now.

Tying the two talks together is a unified goal of empowering women to take up space in the male-dominated field of cybersecurity and technology. “Being a woman in tech, you have to help other women in tech,” shared Javier. “When you are given opportunities and platforms such as these you need to take the uncomfortable step to talk about all that you have achieved because you don’t know that you can be inspiring another woman in the crowd,” she added. Ramos echoes this sentiment by emphasizing the value of listening to oneself and looking inwards when deciding on what career to pursue and how women must uplift and empower each other in the industry. 

Cyber Defense Society: Detect & Respond

Whether a student of computer science, IT, or something unrelated altogether, Trend Micro proves to be a company open to anyone and everyone. To give attendees a look into Trend Micro’s culture and to provide the perspective of a fresh graduate that found a home in the company, Senior Threat Engineer Alyssa Christelle Ramos spoke about how she got to joining the company in 2019, just two weeks after her graduation.

A computer engineering graduate, Ramos shared how she underwent a training course after being hired, and how the course provided her with new perspectives on cybersecurity, a subject she was initially unfamiliar with. Through the training, she was able to make new friends, learn new things, and further develop her skills as a cybersecurity professional.

Ramos’ Trend Micro batchmate Joshua Paul Ignacio, Core Tech Engineer and Threat Experts University Trainer, also shared his experience and journey thus far in the company. Ignacio gave the student attendees a sneak peek into the work of a Threat Engineer, giving a crash course on one of the most common threats faced in the industry –those found in emails.

Led by Erwin Dusojan, a Senior Threat Researcher in Trend Micro, the students participated in a mini “capture-the-flag” activity to showcase and apply what they learned about email threats, and as a culmination of their learnings from DECODE 2022: Detect & Respond as a whole.

“Everything we do now will have an impact on the future and this is why it’s important to us to ensure that we are including the youth in all these conversations. Cybercriminals and threats are only going to get more sophisticated through the years and with the younger generation at the frontlines of the risks and rewards of the online world, the industry also stands to benefit from the innovation and fresh thinking that the youth can bring,” said Jimenez.

Get IT Girl! is Trend Micro PH’s local initiative under the global “Close the Gap” initiative of Trend Micro. Free webinars and workshops for students are also open to all via the Trend Micro Careers Philippines Facebook page for those eager to learn more about the industry. Participants who registered for the conference may access recordings of the different sessions including Get IT Girl! and Cyber Defense Society: Detect & Respond on-demand until December 1, 2023.

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