Article creator image

BY Sarah Boutin

Starting Your Career in Tech? Advice from a Salesforce Security Whiz

Salesforce: Astha Singhal

Photo credit: Astha Singhal

TAGS: Salesforce, Women in the workplace, Job search, Career advice

What’s even more fun than building insanely innovative new tech products?

Breaking them.

Just ask Astha Singhal. Originally from India, Singhal got her Masters in Information Security at Carnegie Mellon before joining Salesforce four years ago through our FutureForce university recruiting program. On the Product Security Team, Singhal was key to ensuring that the products and features we create are secure. Today, she runs the Salesforce AppExchange security review team, testing the security of all new apps before they go on the market.

As if that’s not enough to fill her days, Singhal also heads up university recruiting for our security team. In partnership with our #FutureForce team, she travels to college campuses to find, hire, and inspire the next generation of security engineers at Salesforce. Two years ago, she co-founded our Women in Trust Internship Program, which allows students to take on part-time internships during the school year in order to gain real-world experience in security and find out if it’s the right field for them.

“Not everyone who works in security has been a basement hacker since they were 13 years old. I first got interested in it when I took a security class in college,” Singhal explains. “Many women in tech don’t even know what a job in security entails, or how exciting it can be as a career. My hope is to expose more women to this growing field, teach them the tools they need to succeed, and usher in a new wave of Women in Trust.”

Here, Salesforce’s April Woman of the Month shares her top tips for starting out your tech career successfully … and why a future in security engineering looks bright.

1. Make yourself stand out.

When I meet with potential interns, I always look for candidates who actively pursue both technical and personal interests outside the classroom – candidates who are well-rounded. Additionally, when a candidate participates in Women in Tech campus initiatives, takes security classes, or has clearly gone out of their way to improve their knowledge in other areas, it proves to me that they are interested and passionate about this field.

2. Hold out for a role you really want.

When it comes to internships and first jobs, pass up the easiest opportunity for one that will give you a chance to explore a specialized field you are passionate about. When I was in college, I was qualified as a developer and could have gotten a development internship at many companies … but what I truly wanted was a role in security. So I waited for the right role that would allow me to get practical experience in that specific area, and that decision set me up for long-term success.

3. Choose the right company.

Think about what matters to you in an employer. Do you desire a close-knit culture, an emphasis on innovation, a fast-paced environment? Personally, I was looking for a company that was promoting and retaining women in STEM fields, rewarding and advancing employees based on merit, and prioritizing trust and security as a top value. I think it’s always important to seek out a company that prioritizes your field. Luckily, I found what I was looking for in Salesforce.

4. Consider Security Engineering.

Passionate about engineering and development, but not quite sure which specific area to pursue? I strongly encourage you to consider security. If you have a hacker mindset and the right background, it’s a very interesting field with a lot to learn. It’s so rewarding to look for vulnerabilities, find ways to improve, and ultimately build stronger and more resilient products. Remember: if you’re good at building things, you can be good at breaking things!

5. Continuously challenge yourself.

No matter where you are in your career, always look for new opportunities to grow and develop. I took on my new role managing the AppExchange security team about six months ago – I’ve never been a people manager before, so my interpersonal relationships with my team are something I’m really focusing on. And after I get that under my belt … the sky’s the limit!

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. We showcase career stories to illustrate how a wide variety of women find success and fulfillment at supportive and inclusive employers.

Related Community Discussions

  • I am trying to change career paths. I was laid off in Nov. 2016. I spoke with a master resume writer yesterday who recommended an entirely new resume, LinkedIn overhaul, valuation letter and summary/biography all for close to $3000. I also received a call for an interview for a part-time job, $10/hour, no benefits. Needless to say I burst into tears by the end of the day.

    I had high hope when I obtained my law degree (especially after working full-time & attending night classes). I've tried contacting the law school and my undergrad career centers but have received only nominal assistance. They both wished me luck, gave me login's to their job portals and had nothing more to suggest.

    Someone mentioned networking & I agree that is an option but here in Michigan is comes with a fee to attend events, seminars or join associations. I understand we are all trying to make money but I graduated from law school during the recession and have 6 figures in student loans. I also am running out of unemployment.

    The master resume writer explained only 15% of people get hired from online applications. Is that true? If so then why are we even bothering with an online system at all? She suggested I find the hiring manager & connect with that person. The hiring manager is sometimes 2 people deep in the company so how do I find the person who told HR that they need a person for X job?

    I've reached out to people on LinkedIn and have not gotten much response or advice. Are there any mentors or HR people that can suggest anything that is free? My mom thinks I should go back to school but with a BA and JD that I am still paying for adding to the debt with no promises that another degree will land me a job doesn't seem wise.

    I am frustrated, disheartened and angry that the process of finding a job has become so convoluted but understand why it has. I've read so many articles on LinkedIn that they conflict with one another...you need a cover letter, no you need a pain letter, don't bother you don't need these because HR won't read it. Your resume needs skills, don't list your skills, list dates, don't list dates, take off references. Which article do I believe? Adding insult to injury the unemployment agency here requires your resume to be uploaded to the talent network. Do you know what companies contacted me expressing interest in my skill-set? Tru-Green lawn care as a fertilizer sprayer and a local manufacture as a line-worker. Is that all I am capable of and are they even reading my resume?

    If there is anyone out there who can help please respond and as 1 talk-show host says everyday at the end of her show remember to "be king to one another".

  • My friend just told me (she was trying to be nice) that I'm limiting my career potential because I don't wear makeup to work. Do you think she's right? Do I need to wear makeup to be "professional?"

  • Does anyone here work for Earnst & Young? I see their communications department is hiring for multiple roles I think I'm qualified for. I'd like to learn more "inside scoop" from a current or former employee. Also looking to learn more about how this department is structured so I can figure out which of the positions I should apply for. Don't want to apply for all of them and have it look as if I'm spamming them with my resume.

  • Any advice for someone searching for work during their first trimester of pregnancy? I currently work with a temp agency for income and am applying for my next role. From what I've read on the boards, it seems that most women are firmly established at their companies but I was forced to look for a new role outside of my former company due to a health condition. They were unwilling to move me to a different role within the company. Any suggestions on how to navigate the next 4-6 months before giving birth?

  • The previous post is a hard act to follow, but here goes: Within a week or two, I will be laid off from the ad agency where I work. Unfortunately, this is a hazard of working at an agency. If the agency loses a major client (or, as in our case, two), staff are let go. For me, this is deja vu; at my last job, also at an agency, we lost a major client and 11 staffers were laid off (including me).

    The advertising industry skews quite young. I laugh when I see a job posting for a "senior" copywriter requiring only three years of experience (I have more than 20).

    While I am seeking a permanent, full-time position either remotely or in the Greater Philadelphia/South Jersey region, I am considering going freelance. I have had a freelance business on the side for decades, but never made the leap.

    So, if anyone has advice on making a living as a freelancer, let me know. Or, if you have any ideas on how to "spin" my experience in a positive way, please share. (And if you want to send a job offer my way, that's OK, too!)

Find Out

What are women saying about your company?

Click Here

Share This

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Share with Friends
  • Share Anonymously

Starting Your Career in Tech? Advice from a Salesforce Security Whiz

Starting Your Career in Tech? Advice from a Salesforce Security Whiz

What’s even more fun than building insanely innovative new tech products? Breaking them. Just ask Astha Singhal. Originally from India, Singhal got...

What’s even more fun than building insanely innovative new tech products?

Breaking them.

Just ask Astha Singhal. Originally from India, Singhal got her Masters in Information Security at Carnegie Mellon before joining Salesforce four years ago through our FutureForce university recruiting program. On the Product Security Team, Singhal was key to ensuring that the products and features we create are secure. Today, she runs the Salesforce AppExchange security review team, testing the security of all new apps before they go on the market.

As if that’s not enough to fill her days, Singhal also heads up university recruiting for our security team. In partnership with our #FutureForce team, she travels to college campuses to find, hire, and inspire the next generation of security engineers at Salesforce. Two years ago, she co-founded our Women in Trust Internship Program, which allows students to take on part-time internships during the school year in order to gain real-world experience in security and find out if it’s the right field for them.

“Not everyone who works in security has been a basement hacker since they were 13 years old. I first got interested in it when I took a security class in college,” Singhal explains. “Many women in tech don’t even know what a job in security entails, or how exciting it can be as a career. My hope is to expose more women to this growing field, teach them the tools they need to succeed, and usher in a new wave of Women in Trust.”

Here, Salesforce’s April Woman of the Month shares her top tips for starting out your tech career successfully … and why a future in security engineering looks bright.

1. Make yourself stand out.

When I meet with potential interns, I always look for candidates who actively pursue both technical and personal interests outside the classroom – candidates who are well-rounded. Additionally, when a candidate participates in Women in Tech campus initiatives, takes security classes, or has clearly gone out of their way to improve their knowledge in other areas, it proves to me that they are interested and passionate about this field.

2. Hold out for a role you really want.

When it comes to internships and first jobs, pass up the easiest opportunity for one that will give you a chance to explore a specialized field you are passionate about. When I was in college, I was qualified as a developer and could have gotten a development internship at many companies … but what I truly wanted was a role in security. So I waited for the right role that would allow me to get practical experience in that specific area, and that decision set me up for long-term success.

3. Choose the right company.

Think about what matters to you in an employer. Do you desire a close-knit culture, an emphasis on innovation, a fast-paced environment? Personally, I was looking for a company that was promoting and retaining women in STEM fields, rewarding and advancing employees based on merit, and prioritizing trust and security as a top value. I think it’s always important to seek out a company that prioritizes your field. Luckily, I found what I was looking for in Salesforce.

4. Consider Security Engineering.

Passionate about engineering and development, but not quite sure which specific area to pursue? I strongly encourage you to consider security. If you have a hacker mindset and the right background, it’s a very interesting field with a lot to learn. It’s so rewarding to look for vulnerabilities, find ways to improve, and ultimately build stronger and more resilient products. Remember: if you’re good at building things, you can be good at breaking things!

5. Continuously challenge yourself.

No matter where you are in your career, always look for new opportunities to grow and develop. I took on my new role managing the AppExchange security team about six months ago – I’ve never been a people manager before, so my interpersonal relationships with my team are something I’m really focusing on. And after I get that under my belt … the sky’s the limit!

Fairygodboss

Fairygodboss is committed to improving the workplace and lives of women. We showcase career stories to illustrate how a wide variety of women find success and fulfillment at supportive and inclusive employers.

thumbnail 1 summary