Abigail Johnson Inyang is a 17-year-old high school graduate awaiting admission into
the university. She’s into penetration testing and vulnerability assessment and her interests are Cybersecurity, Artificial intelligence, Photography, and Virtual reality.
She is a writer on Medium who publishes articles about Cybersecurity, internet safety tips, CTFs walkthroughs, and little things about herself.
Abigail is passionate about using AI, and VR to help in the advanced detection, and prevention of cybercrimes, helping companies identify vulnerabilities that can lead to data leakage, damaged reputation, and identity theft, and also guiding and mentoring people interested in starting a career in Cybersecurity.
According to Abigail “The tech world isn’t for men,” She believes that this is a misconception because there are actually more females also in the field who are also role models to other girls/women making their way in a space thought to be male-dominated.
Abigail attests to the fact that she is grateful for being a part of the young girls out there, changing the narrative of the tech world being for men.
Talking about her major challenges she says “the major challenge every person does face is the lack of stable electricity in the community. It hinders and limits me often”. Another challenge is the lack of available resources and sponsorship.”
After Abigail was introduced to Cybersecurity and hacking at a summer boot camp she attended in 2019 she didn’t have the resources to learn further and also didn’t even know who to reach out to since she’d just gotten into the tech space and there was also a lack of opportunities for hands-on experiences.
Speaking about the importance of women in the tech space she says “Yes, the world will be a better place with women who leverage the opportunities that come with solving
problems with tech. Women can bring a fresh approach and offer unique perspectives to address challenges, solve problems, and design new products or services.”
She also strongly believes that “More women in tech mean more female role models and mentors to inspire and challenge the next generation of young girls who will take up spaces, build innovative solutions, create inclusive workspaces for everyone, and more!”
Growing up as a young girl Abigail has always been interested in science and technology and always dreamed of becoming a scientist.
She got into tech in 2019 through her older sister, Precious John who made her join a digital summer academy program afterward in her words “I became interested in many tech skills. At the end of the digital summer academy program, we were asked to identify a problem in our community and apply what we’ve learned to solve the problem.”
She later moved on to creating a mobile application where students can carry out practical activities as if they were in a real laboratory using a virtual reality device. She pitched this idea to the judges and emerged as the winner with a new laptop prize. According to Abigail “This was my first time owning a personal computer.”
After the program ended she learned the basics of high-level programming with HTML and CSS before learning python development.
She says that “Learning python gave me more insight into how I could solve problems using artificial intelligence.”
However, she was not consistently coding because she was still in high school and did not know how to cope with tech and school. She had to pause learning python and focus on school and continued learning and trying different tech skills, including nature photography and animation. She was not sure about what my focus would be so she continued to explore.
Abigail says “I struggled to learn cybersecurity alone because I lacked resources and did not know who to ask for help. In 2021, my dream of starting a career became a reality as my sister introduced me to the cybergirls 1.0 cybersecurity fellowship. I applied for the training, had an interview, and got selected for the training.”
In June 2021 Abigail joined the cybersecurity fellowship for girls before graduating senior high school. The cybersecurity fellowship brought together girls from different parts of Nigeria, evolved and equipped them with the relevant skills needed to start a career in cybersecurity, and provided mentors to guide us throughout the fellowship.
Speaking on the value of appropriate mentorship, Abigail tells us that “Mentors helped me to choose the right career path in cybersecurity. I picked up penetration testing (ethical
hacking) as my career path. I chose ethical hacking because I enjoy building and breaking into things like computer systems, networks, and applications.”
She went further on tell us that after her graduation from the cybergirls fellowship, she was eager to learn more. She continued exploring and documenting her learning experiences on all her social platforms, volunteering to teach, mentor, and guide beginners in the field.
She was also privileged to also speak at cybersecurity events and conferences, which built her public speaking skills and exposed her to other opportunities. She was also able to create awareness with the knowledge gained.
Abigail was most excited when she even had the opportunity to give her first physical presentation at the DevFest event in 2021.
Talking about her personal development she says “My learning is always fun and challenging. In all, I still get up and put in more effort to make sure I excel in my field by using my skills to create awareness and provide solutions to problems.”
Inspiring others Abigail says “I started my cybersecurity journey while I was preparing for my senior high school final exams (WASSCE). Studying for my exams and Cybersecurity wasn’t easy. I had to stop going to school, so I didn’t miss my Cybersecurity classes. It was a physical training – Cybergirls, an initiative of Cybersafe Foundation. When
writing my exams, I also had to miss classes. The zeal to learn and explore didn’t end after the Cybersecurity Fellowship. Looking back, I haven’t regretted the decision I made, because it wasn’t the wrong choice.”
She strongly believes that “Whatsoever you’re doing, be determined, hard-working, and resilient. Build upon your skills, develop a passion for learning, and solve problems. Also, don’t fail to build your communication and networking skills.
Do what’s valuable because this will lead you to have a passion and a fulfilling career.”