A great leader is the one whose absence does not hinder the workflow

Yuliya Novikova, Head of Digital Footprint Intelligence, talks about her journey in the cybersecurity industry and the peculiarities of being a female leader

Yuliya has been with Kaspersky for more than seven years, starting as a Security Analyst in the Security Services Analysis team.

Yuliya’s team’s primary mission is to detect external threats by monitoring companies’ assets in the Surface, Deep and Dark webs. For instance, if a hacking organization is plotting an attack against a major company and discusses it deep within underground websites, Yuliya’s team is at the forefront, poised to promptly identify such discussions. Their role is to alert customers, providing an early warning and detailed experts analysis with recommendations to help customers with possible remediation measures. When Yuliya first joined Kaspersky, her team consisted of just four people. Since then it has grown more than fivefold and continues to rise, further broadening its horizon and visibility into underground threats to help protect even more organizations worldwide.

of suggested
ideas turn out to be impractical.

However, the remaining 10 percent can be absolute gold.

Yuliya Novikova, Head of Digital Footprint Intelligence

Well-coordinated teamwork is often a secret to success

I was only 20-years-old when I got my first job. Right after graduating from the university, I booked tickets to Moscow, where I had to find a job within two weeks. It was one of those moments in which my determination and firmness — I think the qualities that helped me to grow my career in IT — kicked in. Given the tight deadline, I applied for every available tech position I could find. Sometimes, achieving success requires willpower and the ability to go the extra mile. If I didn’t receive a response from a potential employer within a couple of days, I would try to get through on to them the phone and ask, “Could you please check my CV right now?” Eventually, my efforts paid off, and I got a job in the field that piqued my utmost interest.


I remember my first day at work. I walked into the office, there was already a guy sitting there, and he greeted me, jokingly looked me over, and said, “Hello, my darling!” We immediately hit it off as we have a shared sense of humor and positive attitude towards each other. Despite being the only female member of the team, I was able to get along with my colleagues and we cooperated seamlessly and complemented each other’s efforts on various tasks. It was a truly remarkable partnership.

Knowledge is not the most important element. What is most important is the ability and desire to think outside the box and to learn for yourself.

I was very motivated back then, and I remain motivated today. If I am interested in doing something, I can spend the whole day on it without leaving my desk. If you spend a lot of time on something, quantity turns into quality, and working on the task sharpens your skills. That’s often the secret to success.


Today, I am a team lead with six years of experience and I choose people to work with myself. The main criteria I use to choose new teammates is based on their thirst for knowledge and their personal need to learn new things. If someone has a genuine passion for learning, they will never experience boredom as they will consistently discover new things to engage with. Even if they currently lack knowledge on a particular subject, their ability to quickly assess and analyze a task shows their potential.


If you succeed in finding like-minded employees, you’ll end up with a team bound together not only by joint tasks, but more importantly, by shared values. I have a strong commitment to the principles of transparency and awareness. If everyone fits in, there is a common goal and a clear process — then the work will run smoothly.


However, apart from doing business together, it’s important to create a friendly environment: we are constantly sharing banter with each other, we congratulate each other on birthdays, and go out together. Some of the guys on the team even go camping or attend events together. As I have learned, informal communication can often be a prerequisite for productive work, so I support it in every way possible.


What I love most about my work is that I can always find something interesting in it. To me, it feels like an immersive game of life that can captivate me for hours on end. Nonetheless, there are moments when, like anyone else, crises arise and difficult situations emerge, leaving one unsure about the next steps to take. This is more about your emotional state than about the challenges you face at work. I came to believe that the external world remains unchanged; we are the ones who undergo transformation.

In most cases, there is no external change. Only your attitude to some tasks, people or situations, or your mood changes, but all the rest remains the same.

One of those stressful situations for me was when a person quit my team for the first time. At first, I felt frustrated and even lost, but soon I realized the importance of providing support for this person. It is great that he was able to sort himself out and decided to go in a different direction. My task at that moment was to find out if and how I could help him with his problem, and, of course, to wish him luck and thank him for the fruitful work we did together. Since then, this is the only way I say goodbye and remain on friendly terms with people.

When you receive a promotion or move to a different team, it may seem like a minor shift in external circumstances — perhaps an additional task or a slight alteration. However, true transformation occurs primarily within yourself, shaping your perspective on the world. So, if at some point you get bored with something, you need to look inside yourself and understand what has changed within you over that time. If your inner state is really not compatible with your work, it is absolutely normal to move on and continue evolving.

If you’re thinking about starting a career in IT, go ahead and give it a try. Don’t be afraid to begin something new. If you want things to work out, all you need to do is to put in extra effort.

Key elements that women need to achieve success in IT

Unfortunately, in general, I notice that women who come into IT can be very lacking in self-confidence. This can already be seen during a job interview, when a smart and responsible girl comes in, answers the questions perfectly, but with a very insecure look. This is definitely something that should be rectified. If you don’t have faith in yourself, the other person won’t get that positive energy from you and they won’t feel you’re capable of doing the job either.

Additionally, women often tend to remain in the shadow of men. I frequently witness situations where women tend to remain silent, whether in discussions with customers or colleagues. One time, I witnessed a woman who was an expert, who ended up sitting against the wall and choosing to stay quiet, due to limited seating. This fear holds back many smart and capable women, preventing them from fully contributing and showcasing their intelligence.
You don’t have to be afraid to assert yourself. I have noticed that it is much harder for girls to come and ask for a pay rise or a promotion. But it’s okay to appreciate your worth and objectively understand that you make a big difference.

I put all my efforts to sway the girls on my team by getting them to talk and not be afraid to speak their mind. It’s important to understand that there are no stupid questions.


Very often women avoid arguing and issues that can cause disagreements, but this is fundamentally wrong. I think that if you’re not happy with something, or you don’t agree with something you need to talk about it openly. It’s not necessarily a complaint or a tantrum, but giving feedback is a quality that people very rarely have, especially ladies.

As I see it, what another thing that can be useful for girls to succeed in IT is to not be afraid to embrace hard work, demonstrate active engagement and “prove yourself”. I am convinced that you have to work hard first, and then you can have a good rest. If we never push ourselves slightly beyond our limits, we won’t achieve outstanding results. From another point of view: it’s not just about taking on new challenges it’s also about fostering creativity and initiative. It’s truly inspiring when individuals continuously generate ideas, even if 90 percent of them turn out to be impractical. The remaining 10 percent, can be absolute gold. So, you have to offer all kinds of ideas and not be afraid to do more, to invest more in yourself.

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