September 13, 2022

Hacking the TikTok Algorithm with Caitlin, AKA Cybersecurity Girl

by Hacker Valley Studio

Show Notes

Caitlin Sarian, known on TikTok as Cybersecurity Girl, comes to Hacker Valley to talk about the endless possibilities for cybersecurity on social media. Walking through her journey of becoming cyber’s biggest TikTok star, Caitlin covers every aspect of internet fame and online presence, including facing criticism, gaining and losing viewers, and trying to make an impact on women in STEM. Alongside her work on social media, Caitlin also walks through the development of her new online cybersecurity course.

 

Timecoded Guide:

[00:00] Introducing Caitlin & her work on TikTok with Cybersecurity Girl

[06:45] Building a cyber platform on TikTok & dealing with imposter syndrome

[11:21] Keeping women in STEM, instead of just getting women into STEM fields

[15:56] Dismissing the idea of the diversity hire in tech & cyber

[24:43] Working with Girls Who Code & building her own low-cost cyber school

 

Sponsor Links:

Thank you to our sponsors Axonius and Uptycs for bringing this episode to life!

The Axonius solution correlates asset data from existing solutions to provide an always up-to-date inventory, uncover gaps, and automate action — giving IT and security teams the confidence to control complexity. Learn more at axonius.com/hackervalley  

Uptycs, analytics for the modern attack surface, observability for the modern defender. Check out Uptycs by visiting them at uptycs.com

 

How do you feel about going viral, or not going viral, on TikTok? 

Although social media, especially TikTok, relies on an algorithm to push content to different viewers, Caitlin admits that viral content creation is more about luck than about methods. Since becoming involved in TikTok as a cybersecurity influencer, Caitlin has developed tricks of her own to elevate her content and interact with her audience, including going live on the app. However, she still explains that going viral is still random, with lower quality quick content sometimes hitting a larger audience than her higher value creations. 

“Videos that you spend the least time on get the most views and the videos that you spend the most time on, get the least views. I've stopped looking at the views and just started trying to produce content that either makes people smile, or adds value to people's lives.”

 

What is that value that you're getting from making cybersecurity content for TikTok? 

While creating podcasts at Hacker Valley allows for Chris and Ron to give back to their community and meet incredible cybersecurity content creators, a similar idea guides Caitlin’s work on TikTok. Considering that content creation can sometimes feel thankless and frustrating, Caitlin motivates herself by focusing on the people she helps. Through making cybersecurity more accessible online, she hopes to inspire other women to get involved and stay involved in cyber, tech, and STEM fields.

“It adds value to my life, knowing that I'm not just going day-by day-doing my job and that's it. I like bringing awareness and being that light for people that need it, especially in the tech world. I think for me, this is what I'm hoping for, I'm hoping to get more women in STEM.”

 

Can you tell us a little bit about your online cybersecurity school? 

Caitlin isn’t only working on her cybersecurity platform on TikTok, she’s also expanding into online education with her course, Become a Cyber Analyst. Focusing on cybersecurity accessibility and affordable education, Caitlin’s course is a six-month boot camp that teaches students the ropes of the cyber industry. The best part? Students don’t pay until they’re employed in cyber, and Caitlin’s course guarantees a job within 3 months of graduation.

“I partnered up with a school called Master School, and it's basically a six-month boot camp. And then, after the boot camp, we have HR specialists that help students get a job after. You don't have to pay for it until you get a job, and it's a lump sum.”

 

What is your perspective on the struggles women face breaking into cybersecurity and staying in tech careers?

As a woman in cybersecurity, Caitlin has witnessed alarming levels of sexism in the industry and has seen fellow women experience tech burnout. With her content on TikTok and her new cybersecurity school, Caitlin hopes to solve the problem of not just inviting women into the cyber industry, but retaining female employees in cyber as well. Through supportive content creation and her own influence, she hopes other woman see that the possibilities in their careers are endless.

“I think the issue that I always used to deal with is a lot of men think I got the job from just being a woman. That also goes to my imposter syndrome, because I'm like, ‘Maybe I did just get this job because I'm a woman and they want to work with me. Maybe I'm a diversity hire.’”

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Links:

Keep up with our guest Caitlin/Cybersecurity Girl on TikTok and Instagram

Learn more about Caitlin’s incredible Masterschool course, Become a Cyber Analyst

Connect with Ron Eddings on LinkedIn and Twitter

Connect with Chris Cochran on LinkedIn and Twitter

Purchase a HVS t-shirt at our shop

Continue the conversation by joining our Discord

Check out Hacker Valley Media and Hacker Valley Studio



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