The shortage of women in tech is especially pronounced within the field of CybersecurityFeatured
Why do you think women should choose careers in cybersecurity?The shortage of women in tech is especially pronounced within the field of Cybersecurity. I’ve experienced this firsthand through my career as both a consultant and engineer. I’ve wondered why so few women go into the field considering Cybersecurity affects everyone and arguably has a more negatively impact on women than men. Women I discuss the topic with often tell me “it’s too hard”, or “it’s not relevant to me” or that they don’t relate to the [incorrect] stereotype that they need to be socially inept and live in their mother’s basement. At the risk of sounding like Morpheus from The Matrix, “Cyber” surrounds every one of us. It connects everything to everything else. Analysts at Gartner estimate that there will be over 12 billion consumer Internet of Things (IoT) devices (wearables, “smart” appliances, etc.) in 2020. These devices connect to other devices, and still more devices store all the data created by these IoT devices. When you leave your house, your car is connected to the internet. Go to a checkup and your doctor uses a laptop to update your health information during your appointment, which is connected to the office WiFi and contains a camera. Chances are you will be faced with the results of poor Cybersecurity implementation; perhaps your credit card information or identity is stolen, maybe the company that holds your medical records is hacked, or maybe it’s your email and cloud photo storage service. Or you may be a startup company and a disgruntled employee is looking to sell off your proprietary software code. The argument that “it’s not relevant” is far from reality. There will be a projected 3.5 million Cybersecurity jobs available in 2021 and women make up an estimated 20% of the current workforce. Cybersecurity jobs are not just extreme coding a la “Mr. Robot”, but since cyber interacts with nearly everything in nearly every industry, diversity of backgrounds and experiences give you a big advantage in the field and can be applied in many different types of roles. The argument that Cybersecurity is “too hard” is tough to defend when you can apply your existing skillset in a Cybersecurity context (e.g. as an auditor seeing uncommon actions, or within finance seeing transactions that shouldn’t be occurring, within HR it’s securely managing employee personnel information or as a hospital administrator understanding HIPAA requirements).People often choose to move into the field for job security, high compensation, or for a new challenge. Cyberseek has identified networking, software development, system engineering, financial and risk management and security intelligence as the most common “feeder roles” into Cybersecurity. Your skills from these backgrounds can be applied to secure hardware and software design, industrial infrastructure security (utilities such as telecommunications, water, oil and gas, etc.), IT and data information management, cyber law, risk and financial management and even psychological and military cyberwarfare.Even if you are not looking for a career change, adding an understanding of Cybersecurity to your list of skills is invaluable for your professional career and personal life. Whether you choose to take an introductory online course, or learn and apply secure coding methodologies to your existing software builds, you’re developing competency in during a time when companies have the pressure to ensure they are “cyber secure”.And if you do decide to enter the field, you get to work with some seriously cool and smart women.https://www.wicys.orghttps://www.cyberseek.orghttps://www.cybrary.it/Michelle is a Cybersecurity advisor supporting Federal Government, military and Fortune 500 companies. A CISSP with a background in technology management and a MS in computer science. Cyberwarrior.