IT Hotspot Romania - An interview with Florina Dumitrache
Florina Dumitrache is one of the main organizers of DefCamp, largest cybersecurity conference from CEE. She has a background in marketing and communication and has been working in this area for 10 years. Florina joined the DefCamp team in 2013 and since then, she actively got involved in developing the community. In 2019 she hosted the first edition of Ladies in Cyber Security by DefCamp, an initiative meant to encourage more women to choose a career in infosec. On a daily basis, she works at Bit Sentinel, a cybersecurity startup where she manages the communication & marketing.
What characterizes the IT-Scene of Romania?
Romania is a well-known country because of the wide pool of talents in the technical area, the most skilled developers and the most skilled hackers are here. I believe that Romania has been a favorite IT outsourcing destination for many years as it’s built on communist legacy of excellence in science, mathematics, and technical education. In the past years we also had a development in the innovation side and entrepreneurship. On the innovation side, I can mention UiPath, a well-known Romanian Unicorn who managed to reach so many lines in the media with their results in the RPA industry. Also, TypingDNA is a rising star in the cybersecurity startups area as it raised at the beginning of the year €6.2 million in Series A funding to create ‘typing identity’ for security.
What are the reasons that Romania has such a vivid IT-scene?
I personally believe that Romanians are passion driven, they are fast learners and adapt quickly to change. They are always looking for ways to innovate and they embrace new technologies or even support developing them.
Where are the Hotspots for IT-Specialists in Romania and why?
Not sure what you mean by hotspots…. but if you refer to cities, I would say that clearly the main attraction is Bucharest as it offers a larger access to resources for both companies and talent. There are events happening and lots of training opportunities to develop skills and become experts. Nevertheless, Cluj is also on top of the list with talented people who either started a company or managed to join leading international companies who decided to open subsidiaries there. Iași, Timișoara, Brașov and Constanta also started to develop quite nicely in the last period so we will definitely see an increase there as well.
What are the reasons that women are especially strongly represented amongst IT specialists in Rumania?
The shortest and main reason is because of the communist legacy. The traditional Romanian education says that women should stay home and take care of the house and make babies. But with time, women started to want more and developed skills to cover roles where there was shortage of people. Currently, we see lots of communities that encourage women in tech roles and in executive roles. I always say that in all areas it’s good to have diversity as it balances the perspectives and offers a more coherent approach.
Us, for instance, we have been organizing DefCamp since 2011 and we saw an obvious increase in participation for women at the our event only in the last couple of years. This is why we started Ladies in Cyber Security as well, to share stories of women who work in this area and to encourage others to follow this path. I always say that communities make wonders and change the world, and this is exactly what we aim to do, to actively participate in its development.
What is the idea behind the events DefCamp and Ladies in Cyber Security?
DefCamp was founded in 2011 by Andrei Avadanei, and it was meant to be a small meetup among a group of friends with a common passion for cybersecurity. At that time, infosecurity was a closed subject and not many people understood it or knew what to expect. The first DefCamp edition was organized in Bran, the official city for the legend of Dracula and 60 people attended. What came next was to cover a need of the community and in time grew at what it has become today. I joined at DefCamp #4 and I can tell you that I've seen an obvious evolution both in terms of attendees, speakers, knowledge and topics. Last year we had almost 2000 attendees from all over the world in Bucharest for two days to discuss infosec and “play” in the Hacking Village. For Ladies in Cyber Security, we aim to inspire and encourage women to get out of their comfort zone and explore the spotlight because they really have strong skills and valuable input.
Tell us a bit more about your next event “Ladies in Cyber Security”.
Ladies in Cyber Security is a project very close to my heart as its main goal is to empower women to embrace the spotlight and speak their mind in order to encourage other females working in infosec to do the same. Us, as women, we need role models and inspiration in order to get out of our comfort zone. The first edition of the conference took place last year and it was well received by the audience to have a full line up of female speakers ready to share their experience in the infosec area and their feedback was amazing.
This year we didn’t manage to organize the event as planned (because of the global pandemic situation) but we will definitely continue to find other ways to share our vision and our message to the world.
Why should a Company participate in DefCamp and/or Ladies in Cyber Security?
Because cyber security matters! In a world where digital is an important part of our everyday life, we need to be aware of cyber risks and we need to encourage more people to choose this path. Through DefCamp and Ladies in Cyber Security, we are doing just that; we bring together specialists from all over the world to discuss challenges and opportunities in order to solve aspects that impact both companies and individuals.
Companies choose to attend DefCamp to position themselves as companies aware of cyber risks and they want to learn about the latest threats from the industry or they simply want to challenge hackers to test their infrastructures in dedicated competitions from the Hacking Village. Also, if companies are looking to hire talents, they will surely find them at DefCamp.
Ladies in Cyber Security started last year as a need to encourage more women to choose this professional path. Diversity is an important aspect in any team, and we want to facilitate just that, to develop the infosec woman community. How do we do that? We have an exclusive line-up of female speakers that actively work in infosec and preach their learnings with ups & downs.