Five years ago, Frauke Steinmeier experienced a life-changing event that motivated her to pursue a career in cybersecurity. After her father’s passing in a small town in Germany, thieves broke into his house and stole valuable possessions including his IDs, laptop, and phone. With access to his stolen information, the thieves assumed his identity, stole money, created fake documents, accessed and changed his social media accounts, and much more. This all happened while Frauke’s family was grieving and making funeral preparations for her father. The local police did not have the training, resources, or protocols to properly investigate and solve the crime. “The criminals got away with it,” Frauke recalls. “I didn’t like that feeling of helplessness, and I wanted to prevent it from happening to others.”
Determined to prevent others from becoming victims of cybercrime, Frauke began taking night classes to transition from a career in education to cybersecurity. She was awarded a CyberCorps Scholarship for Service Scholarship, which provided cybersecurity training in preparation for a government career. After completing the program, Frauke joined the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).
At CISA, Frauke contributes to a variety of projects including hosting cyber webinars, program development, and developing courses that educate the public and private sectors on how to protect themselves and their loved ones from cyber-attacks. Frauke also serves several functions within the Federal Cyber Defense Skilling Academy, a free cyber boot camp for federal employees with no cyber or technical background.
Transitioning from a non-technical background to a career in cybersecurity was daunting at first, but Frauke persisted through hard work, patience, and determination. She is extremely appreciative of her family for providing her with the time and support she needed to make such a significant career transition.
Frauke’s colleagues and the CISA community also supported her career development by encouraging her and providing opportunities for growth. She believes that cybersecurity is a team effort and that individuals with different experiences and strengths can work together to succeed in this field. Frauke enjoys collaborating with the talented and dedicated colleagues on her team and firmly believes that the content they create is timely and impactful.
Frauke believes that everyone can make an impact in protecting yourself and loved ones from cybercrime. She emphasizes the importance of staying vigilant and encourages everyone to take proactive steps such as enabling multi-factor authentication, using strong passwords, updating software, and avoiding suspicious links.