Women in Identity Security: Sylvia Sykula
At SailPoint, our crew members show us every day that anything is possible. Sylvia Sykula, eLearning Developer, solidifies this truth even more. In this Women in Identity Security blog, we ask Sylvia about her career journey in eLearning and discover why she believes that learning from your failures can be a path to your success.
How did you come to your identity security career?
I am a visual storyteller. As such, I gravitated toward a career in eLearning development, where I design multimedia experiences based on the knowledge of others. After earning my master’s degree in Learning, Design, and Technology from the University of Houston, I was hired as an eLearning Developer for Education Services at SailPoint. Here, I’m part of a team that develops and delivers product training for SailPoint’s identity security solutions. There is a challenging precision to this type of visual storytelling that requires the result to be both valuable and retainable for a highly technical audience. I started as an educator where, for over a decade, I broke down complex concepts and processes into smaller, more manageable chunks of information for my students. Transferring this method of instruction into adult education meant augmenting the language and visuals, but I still follow the basic instructional framework and guiding principles of quality and efficiency. My skillset in authoring tools, LMS management, and basic coding has exponentially increased.
What are you working on right now?
Right now, I’m designing a QuickLearn series, a new Sailpoint training offering short, targeted training you can find on Identity University. Training needs assessment for microlearning requires collaboration between subject matter experts with a careful focus to only include what is necessary, no more, no less. It’s a tightrope to walk but highly satisfying when it all comes together.
What has been the most significant learning moment in your career?
As they say, to err is human, and like the product training I help create, I’m also in a continual cycle of improvement. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve inherited from the most intelligent people around me is to learn from failure. For me, this means staying humble and building courageous curiosity. I try to practice this every day and go into meetings or projects to wonder what is possible. I’ve also learned to trust my instincts while staying vulnerable in that moment to ask questions, like, “Tell me more about x,” which helps me develop ideas that remain human-centered.
Who do you look up to as a woman in identity?
I don’t think any of us ever honestly know what we’re capable of, but great managers do. I would not be where I am today without my stellar manager, Carol Keith. Her careful guidance and constant encouragement have played a considerable role in boosting my confidence to do my job. My mentor, Katie Moses, has also been an instrumental sounding board on all things tech-based and supports my growth in this role. I also work with highly intelligent, super supportive, and funny women; Leah Backus, Christina Gagnon, Amy Shillinglaw, Danielle Canterberry, and Dani Mourtada. Outside of my inner sphere, I love to read anything by IDEO pioneer Jane Fulton Suri, a leader in human-centered design.
What can schools do to drum up women’s empowerment in the technology sector?
As a former educator, I think it’s important for girls to understand that their careers when they enter the workforce haven’t been invented yet. So, the bigger question is, how do we prepare for an unknown future? I’ve experienced firsthand how a STEM-based education, aligned with sports and community arts, forms the habits of a highly productive individual, including the capability to adapt to changing environments. Developing these habits can start at any age but should begin in early education and be mandatory through secondary education. Schools can also connect with organizations whose goals are to share real-world experiences from professional women in today’s tech fields. For example, Girls in Tech recently rolled out The Girls in Tech Academy, which begins with teaching young girls soft skills like building confidence and negotiation tactics. A mandatory STEM-based curriculum paired with programs like Girls in Tech Academy will prepare and protect the future of women in tech.