Inspirational Woman: Marion Habiby | Data Ops, HUMAN

Marion HabibyMarion Habiby is part of the data ops team at anti-ad fraud pioneer HUMAN investigating both potential and known fraud.

Marion previously worked as a consultant in financial and forensic investigations for K2 Intelligence, an investigative, compliance services firm, and also the professional services firm Deloitte. In addition, Marion holds a PHD in Particle Physics from the University of Geneva.

Tell us a bit about yourself, background and your current role

I'm part of the data ops team at global anti-ad fraud pioneer HUMAN investigating potential fraud and known fraud. My role is to surface insights from the terabytes of data we amass every day and deliver quality data intelligence to our internal and external stakeholders.

Did you ever sit down and plan your career?

No, I never had a plan! When I started university, I wanted to be a scientist. I actually completed a PhD in particle physics.

 I then found a role in fraud investigation within financial services. It was fascinating but I decided I wanted a change of pace. I saw a job with HUMAN, thought it looked fascinating, and applied. I left academia was because I wanted to work in a fast-paced environment and see my work having a direct impact in the real-world. Working for HUMAN has definitely delivered that! I’m still fascinated by physics though and stay in touch with developments in the field.

What I love about cybersecurity is that it’s always evolving, so there is always a new development to get to grips with. We constantly have to look for new frauds as cyber fraud never stands still. I really enjoy my current role. I’m learning all the time and doing work that has a real impact.

Have you faced any career challenges along the way and how did you overcome these?

Moving out of academia was a massive change as I had to learn to work in a completely different manner. Moving again from finance to tech was also a big change as the two sectors are completely different.

I’ve had to learn and adapt on the job, but I like challenges, so this wasn’t such a bad thing for me! I feel like everything I learnt in academia and finance gave me the knowledge and tools to enjoy where I am now.

What has been your biggest career achievement to date?

Definitely my PhD! It’s such a unique process with so many phases; it becomes such a big event in your life. You learn a lot about yourself. You learn how to work on your own and also how to work with different personalities. I worked with different scientists from all over the globe, from many different cultures which was fascinating.

What one thing do you believe has been a major factor in you achieving success?

Curiosity. I’ve always had the drive to challenge myself and go outside my comfort areas, but it’s curiosity which keeps taking me to new areas.

What top tips would you give to an individual who is trying to excel in their career in technology?

Seek out mentors who are accessible and incredibly knowledgeable in the field you want to enter and ask as many questions as you can.

Do you believe there are still barriers for success for women working in tech, if so, how can these barriers be overcome?

There definitely are, unfortunately, it’s not even a question.

 If we are to encourage more women to get into tech, we need to see more women in senior positions to provide an example. Few women in a company creates a system where men dominate the leadership positions and it’s incredibly hard for women joining the company to find a woman mentor and to see herself in a more senior role in the future.

It’s also incredibly hard to create a welcoming and inclusive environment for women unless you already have women employees. Also, it can be intimidating for women to apply for roles where they are being interviewed by just men and can see the lack of diversity.

I believe companies need to make more of an effort to actively hire women in senior positions and to create more opportunities for women.

What do you think companies can do to support to progress the careers of women working in technology?

Well, this is also a diversity issue. A lack of diversity creates a non-diverse environment, so you end up with a vicious circle. You need people in an environment talking and working to make a change. These new points of view bring something which challenges existing pre-conceptions. To create a shift in perceptions and opinions, you need to actively hire to recruit a more diverse workforce.

There is currently only 17 per cent of women working in tech, if you could wave a magic wand, what is the one thing you would do to accelerate the pace of change for women in the industry?

More women and a greater degree of diversity in senior positions. Ideally 50 per cent.

What resources do you recommend for women working in tech, e.g., Podcasts, networking events, books, conferences, websites etc?

If I’m honest, I don’t have any podcasts or other resources to recommend! I try to read but I learn more by seeking out people who are more experienced than me and asking questions. I’m really lucky that HUMAN has an amazing amount of collective expertise. Everyone seems to have an interesting background in the field and know an incredible amount as well as being genuinely good people and accessible.

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