Join us as we continue our focus on "Women Who Tech" in the LIVEcommunity. The LIVEcommunity provides a vibrant forum, insightful knowledge, and P2P engagement about Palo Alto Networks technology with fellow cybersecurity professionals.
As we actively participate in closing the gender gap and more in the study, pursuit, and practice of engineering and technology, it’s our pleasure to introduce Critical Account Manager Bushra Ansar Syeda, who works from our Plano, Texas office.
Bushra speaks with a calm assuredness, eager to share her ideas and enthusiasm for Palo Alto Networks and the work she does so well. We jumped right into an easy exchange of questions and Bushra’s insightful responses:
Why engineering? What inspired you to pursue a technical path?
Our parents emphasized the importance of education and excelling in our respective fields. In India, we have to decide what path we want to choose as we finish high school. I happened to be around people who were doctors and engineers. Between the two, I chose engineering as I’ve always been inquisitive about how things work. When I did some research about what engineers do, I realized this career is exciting and lucrative, and that made my decision to choose engineering a little easier.
In high school, I once asked a friend what engineering meant. She gave me an explanation that kind of stuck with me. She said, “Engineers are like wizards, using their talent to help people create and repair things.” After all these years (since my undergrad and masters), those words are still stuck in my head and I am lucky enough to be doing exactly that at Palo Alto Networks, previously as a TAC engineer and now as a CAP manager.
Bushra Ansar SyedaWhen you look at mentors and people who have inspired you, who comes to mind?
Our parents have been our greatest mentors. Guiding me in the right direction and believing in me and my talent. They played a very important role in where I am today and all I have achieved so far.
How long have you been at Palo Alto Networks and what do you do?
I started my career with Palo Alto Networks as an intern at Advanced Networking Research Institute in 2012, while I was attending Wichita State University for my masters. It’s been an exciting 7+ years of association with our company.
Please explain your job and the work you do to a 10-year-old.
Critical Account Manager – I work with customers who are not very happy with us and I try to make them happy by making sure all their requests are fulfilled.
How did your education and training prepare you for a career in technology?
I completed my Master’s in Computer Networking and that is one of the most critical steps I’ve taken to be where I am. I learned how to be a problem solver by being critical and analytical at the same time.
Bushra Ansar SyedaHow do you measure a successful day at work?
A successful day at work is turning an account green (successfully closing them out) or reaching out to my accounts to provide them with an update and assuring them that progress is being made on their behalf. A successful day almost never goes by without me connecting with some of our internal teams who make me look good in front of the customer.
How would you persuade a recent college graduate to pursue a career in technology, engineering, IT or cybersecurity?
Technology is a necessity today, for all of us. Use the platform of technology and do wonders by creating machines/apps that can change people’s lives. As people build those machines/apps, cybersecurity becomes even more important.
Think of cybersecurity as a parent of a toddler, where the machine/app is the toddler. The toddler keeps running all day but never runs into a risk because the parent is right behind, ensuring safety and catching their falls. The only thing you need to be
successful in the world of technology is the
grit and enthusiasm to be successful --
technical knowledge will come with it.
What is your advice for women in engineering who are just beginning their careers?
I think perseverance is key to being successful. The only time I’ve not gotten something is when I haven’t asked for it or not worked for it.
Bushra Ansar Syeda
How do you balance work and family/personal life?
My husband has nicknamed me Wonder Woman as I’m either working or working around the house. I just try to make sure my to-do list is always empty.
In all honesty, I do not get a lot of free time between work and home, but I spend most of my free time with my daughter who just turned 16 months. She is our little explorer and keeps us busy around the house.
Talk a bit about key accomplishments and major milestones.
I am proud of a few things in my career at Palo Alto Networks. Starting from trying my hands on Azure when we first introduced our firewalls into Azure cloud.
From there, helping my colleagues better understand Azure, giving an introductory training and successful outcomes with high-visibility CAP accounts.
My major accomplishment, however, would be landing my current role as a Critical Accounts Program Manager from TAC.
I was able to secure this position by actively seeking out growth in Palo Alto Networks.
I’ve only gotten encouragement and support from my colleagues and I believe the leadership of Palo Alto Networks is responsible for creating a very inclusive environment to ensure everyone gets equal opportunity regardless of gender, age, and so on.
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