Zahra finds passion in cyber security

Zahra Karimi found her calling in Information Technology, specifically cyber security. She wants to encourage other females to move into the traditionally male-dominated industry. 

Zahra Karimi arrived from Afghanistan in 2021 on a humanitarian visa, about a month before the Taliban took control.

In Afghanistan, she had worked in Information Technology after completing her Bachelor of Software Engineering through a scholarship in Kyrgyzstan.

When Zahra arrived in Melbourne, she decided she wanted to move into cyber security, one of the fastest growing areas of Information Technology.

“Cyber security is the future,” she says. “Artificial Intelligence and digitalisation are taking over the world by speed.

“Being safe and having control over cyber life, which is the future, one must know cyber security.”

Zahra enrolled in Chisholm’s Certificate IV in Cyber Security.

The course has been designed in collaboration with industry partners. It covers everything from network security fundamentals and incident response plans to ethics and privacy in an IT setting.

Zahra found the Chisholm community to be extremely welcoming and she made friends easily.

“Whenever I needed any help regarding my academic issues, the teachers never hesitated to help me,” she says.

“Chisholm provided me with opportunities, not only in my field of study, but also as a newcomer to Australia. It helped me find a community to interact with.”

One of only two girls in her group, Zahra completed her course with flying colours and was named Vocational Student of the Year at the 2023 Chisholm Education Awards.

She was also part of Chisholm’s Student Ambassador Program, which helped her improve her communication skills and network with people from different backgrounds.

At the time of writing this article, Zahra was working in a migration agency and looking forward to getting started in a career in cyber security.

She says she is already putting what she has learned to good use.

“I remind my colleagues at work or my circle of friends and family to be more cautious of their data security. I also let them know how to better manage their data protection.”

Zahra encouraged other young women with an interest in science and technology to reach for the stars and not be afraid to branch into a traditionally male-dominated field.

“I’d recommend women and girls get into cyber security. It will boom in future,” she says.

“I’d say my biggest achievement is being a woman in this field. I found the courage to be myself and have the power to do things that people normally think I’m not able to.”

In her spare time, Zahra likes to play badminton, go hiking and jog.