Yaiza Rubio holds a Degree in Information Sciences, and has a Master’s Degree in Intelligence Analysis, a Master’s Degree in Logistic and Defence Economy and another one in Technological and ICT Law. Since 2013, she has been intelligence analyst for Digital Telefonica after working in companies such as S21sec and Isdefe. She has developed the OSRF Framework software.
In 2017, she became the first Spanish hacker to participate in larger computer security meetings such as DEF CON, one of the oldest hacker conventions held annually in the United States, and Black Hat Briefings, a conference on cybersecurity that was born in Las Vegas and also celebrated in other cities of the world.
Currently, she leads the Network Tokenization project in the Digital Client area that Chema Alonso has in Telefónica. Data is making digital economy possible, but to be valuable, it must be used and not locked up. This project goes one step beyond this vision, which is to share with people the value of their data.
W4IT: How did you get to where you are right now in your career?
YR: I started in the world of cybersecurity. I started in S21sec, ISDEFE until I reached ElevenPaths, the cybersecurity unit of Telefónica. In this world, you realise that you need to have a fairly deep knowledge of many technologies and I specialised in privacy-oriented technologies and Blockchain. At that point, when Telefónica began to shape the discourse that it currently has on transparency and data control, it was when they proposed to me to be the technical lead of Tokenization. Right now, I also have the product definition part.
W4IT: What has been the role of technology and digital skills on this path?
YR: For me, technology is almost everything. When you know well how it works and how digital products are developed, it is much easier to define a product, its strategy, innovate about it, prepare a communication consistent with what has been defined and orchestrate it with the company’s strategy.
W4IT: What are the benefits of working in the tech sector / in digital for a woman?
YR: The benefits are the same as for men. All sectors are going through a transformation in one way or another and those people who have technical knowledge, in addition to having the ability to internalise the new technologies that appear, will be the most likely to work in the sector. Once you’re in, one of the things that gives you the most satisfaction is to see how what you have created is evolving and is used by millions of users.
W4IT: How do companies benefit from having women in ICT positions (tech / digital)?
YR: I don’t think we have skills that differentiate us especially from men in the world of technology. We will get better or worse or we will like it more or less. What I have seen, and it is noteworthy, is that the few girls who work in technology are especially constant and have the ability to work as a team.
W4IT: Do you think we should have more women in the tech sector / digital jobs?
YR: My field has always been led by men and, therefore, my references are men. But life changes and this sector will not be different. The technological revolution that we are witnessing contributes so much to our economy and to society in general that we cannot afford to leave half of the population out of it.
W4IT: Why is developing digital skills important? What opportunities can it bring, especially for women?
YR: The development of digital skills should not be an optional subject in schools. Today, these skills are being acquired through informal training (extracurricular classes, camps, courses on weekends …). I think Amy Cuddy, a psychologist at Harvard, came up with the key. Girls, when they reach the age of 12, change their body language because suddenly they lose security. The environment must take this detail into account because any negative comment about a girl’s value or about technology can be decisive and impact whether or not girls would want to learn about tech daily. Instilling certain technical skills as can lead to children gaining confidence and perhaps, when choosing a profession, taking into consideration a technical career.
W4IT: What advice do you have for young women who would like to start their career in tech / digital?
My only advice is that if you want to dedicate yourself to this, do it because you like and are passionate about the world of technology. If it’s just because you are looking for a sector where there is work, it might be very uphill.