We love to update our “Friday Five” series to introduce more of the fantastic team members on Target’s technology team to the world. Today, we are thrilled to feature Lead Cybersecurity Analyst Tracy Favro. Read on to learn more about Tracy’s day-to-day life at Target, and what initially drew her to cybersecurity, along with a bonus question about what’s typically in her Target cart.
What sparked your interest in cybersecurity?
When I moved over to the Target tech cybersecurity team from the merchandising team 13 years ago, despite no experience in security, I had all the qualifications of an assessor. It wasn’t until I was in the new role and learning about security that my interest was truly sparked. I remember the first conference I attended; I ended up attending a talk about computer forensics, something I knew nothing about, and found it to be so interesting that I will still talk about it 10 years later. I enjoyed learning about new things and found the vast possibilities of cybersecurity extremely interesting.
What first attracted you to the Target technology team?
Initially, I wanted to better understand the technology I was responsible for assessing. I wanted to be able to read code and understand what it said as I reviewed evidence. That led to wanting to be able to write my own tools and apps, to create something out of nothing, but I didn’t know even where to start. Eventually, I just picked a language (Java), used the internet and the learning tools we had at Target and learned enough to create a secret Santa tool, and that was all it took for me to be hooked. After that, any time there was a training offered, or classes, and bootcamps, I signed up. This led me to be able to transition to a team, still in cybersecurity, where I could do both security and web development.
What’s one word you’d use to describe Target’s tech culture? Why does that word come to mind?
Collaboration: I have found that whenever I have a question, big or small, people in tech are more than happy to help me understand a specific technology better.
How do you ensure you’re continuously learning? What have you been learning lately?
I make continuous learning part of my development plan and part of my yearly goals. I am always trying to stay current on security topics and trends, and usually have a new coding language I want to learn more about or dig into more. Right now, I am digging deep into React.
I finished a six-month bootcamp in full stack web development at the beginning of 2022 where I learned about several different tools. I think I liked React the most as it combined everything in one place. I’ve since started working on a few projects, both personal and for work specifically in React that will help automate some of my team’s work.
What do you want new or aspiring engineers to know?
Talk about what you are working on, what you want to work on, and what you are interested in. I have found that my peers and leadership are very supportive if they know what I want. I wouldn’t be in the position I am today, where I get to write code and work in security, without the help of co-workers and supportive leaders who thought of me for a technical position because I voiced what I was passionate about.
What’s in your Target cart?
Usually Lego for the kids, or anything from Hearth and Hand!