If only we could all be as passionate as Limor Golan. The security software engineer loves her work so much that she’s still sitting in her office at nine months pregnant. Perhaps that’s what happens when your position is created specifically for you, tailored to your skills and interests — it makes you strive even harder.
Limor has a knack for building things that help others do their jobs better and more efficiently. She was recruited to the security operations team at IBM Trusteer after working part-time with the product team as a student, using the company for her final-year project in university. She impressed those around her by developing an automated system to improve her team’s work efficiency. When other teams caught wind of her success, Limor began to take on more and more projects outside of her “real” job.
For her part, Limor enjoyed the work so much that she asked to stay on full-time after finishing her studies. Trusteer, of course, jumped at the chance to keep her, creating a new position outside the regular development team to capitalize on her talents.
A Security Operations ‘Goddess’
Now embedded in the security operations team, Limor designs and creates automated systems to help Trusteer spot more threats and understand them faster and more thoroughly.
“The dam is always full, and the team can’t even get to what they need to do because there are new threats every day,” said Limor. “I facilitate them to do their job faster and therefore better.”
Limor’s modest explanation downplays her brilliance. A colleague described her as “a goddess around here” — she takes seemingly random, abstract ideas, makes a mock-up to check that she’s on the right track, and then develops a tool, system, script or whatever the team needs, often in a matter of hours. By helping the team perform threat analyses more quickly and efficiently, Limor is ultimately working for the greater good of Trusteer’s banking and finance clients and their end users.
Every Day Presents a New Challenge
“Every day when I come to work, something is different,” she says. “I never do the same thing; it’s never tedious. I get to learn new technologies, new things, new products.”
Since Limor was a child, she’s always sought new knowledge. A self-described “very hyperactive person,” she is logical, curious and struggles to sit still. There was no chance of her reading endlessly to study economics or law; she was destined to get her hands dirty in an ever-changing industry like cybersecurity.
“With technology, you understand how the world works in a certain way,” she explained. “If you see something, you understand the logical parts behind it. If I see something — a phone or an app or a keyboard — I know how it works, and that excites me.”
Learning the Hard Way
Growing up in Israel fueled Limor’s techno-curiosity. She said the country, fast gaining a reputation as a technology hub, has a need to be “better, faster, stronger.” She pointed to the recent sale of SodaStream to PepsiCo for more than $3 billion as a strong example of Israeli tech know-how.
“We’re good at inventing things and making people’s lives easier. Israelis love it easy, but we work hard for it,” she laughed.
Limor embodies this hardworking Israeli ethos as much as she thrives on new ideas and explorations. She recalled one project in which a colleague discussed a need with her and suggested she build it in Python because it was “easy.” Though she’d never worked with Python before, she took it as a challenge and learned the language.
“I really listen to conversations around me,” she said of her learning style. “I like absorbing new trends and viewpoints from people around me, and I implement new things every day that require different thinking.”
Built Today, Obsolete Tomorrow
Limor recognizes that this type of fast-paced self-learning won’t suit everyone, but it’s her comfort zone. It’s not unusual for her boss to call her in the evening and tell her to drop everything because tomorrow they’re building something new.
“Here, everything is changing so rapidly, so you have to give a solution that is very, very quick. If you don’t, it has no impact,” she explained. “Some systems or some things you build will become obsolete very fast just because things change, but every day you have a new thing.”
At the end of the day, Limor Golan is a woman of extremes. She’s hyper-focused and super productive at work building automated systems, but when she gets home she avoids technology. Instead, she cooks and bakes cakes — a picture of domestic bliss.
“My head works so hard every single day, I feel I need a mental break,” she acknowledged. “At home I do the things that require the least thinking, and for me cooking is very relaxing — but I’m very precise. I measure everything, exactly one cup or exactly 100 grams. If it’s not pure chemistry, I get annoyed.”
Passion, precision and curiosity drive a good cook, just as they drive a good developer and inventor. With IBM Trusteer, Limor has built her career on satisfying that desire to learn something new every day, helping her team be more productive and, in doing so, making the cyber world a safer place.