InterviewsWomen in Tech

“I Would Say That Technology is in my DNA”


Julie Davila, the Head of the Field CTO Team at Sophos speaks about her journey into the industry

Can you share a little bit about what it is that you do and what a typical day for you is like?  
My work primarily focuses on building a team that serves as a force multiplier to our cybersecurity vision with concentrated attention to enterprise needs within specific focus areas (like the public sector). Within Sophos, I lead the global field CTO team, a highly experienced group of executive-level cybersecurity experts, who have also accomplished researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, and spokespeople within their domains. For my role, I am the “field CTO for the public sector,” so I focus most of my work on government and education.

Did you always know that working in the industry you represent was what you wanted to do? How did you decide on it?  
Back in 2012, I was doing contract admin work when a former client suggested an IT job to me. At this time, I didn’t know if I was a techie, but retrospectively, I would say that technology was in my DNA.

What first got you interested in the industry you work in?  
I joined the tech world as a systems administrator and web developer. After working with startups, I had the chance to be part of the engineering team that migrates NASA’s applications to the public cloud. A very big project: moving NASA’s “flagship portal” of, which contains around 200,000 pages of content, took about 13 weeks.

After this, I joined another startup where I helped clients automate IT workflows, including complex security controls. During this time, I developed an open-source tool that automates security benchmarks. It was this experience that inspired my initial work in security.

What obstacles did you have to overcome?  
Recently, I’ve been appointed as the leader of Sophos’ inaugural global Field CTO team. I’m excited about the opportunity to make an impact on our mission of improving security outcomes. Within this function, I think about large-scale challenges such as increasing economic constraints or even the growing impact of ransomware on critical infrastructure organizations. The way I navigate this, in the context of my professional goals, is to optimise for maximum outcome probability. In practice, this means that I try to look for a primary goal (even in the short term) that will make other objectives less critical or unnecessary.

What advice would you give to someone considering a career in the industry you represent? What do you wish you had known?  
Regardless of gender, to start a career in cybersecurity, review the different aspects of the field to get an overview. There are a lot of different niches, so it’s good to learn a little bit about a lot, first, and when you find an area that is interesting, go all in. For women, don’t be afraid to speak up.

What do you do to unwind after work?  
Spend time with my children and play competitive ice hockey.

Prarthana Mary

Inogates and its Solution Partners to Participate in GISEC 2023

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