Did you know that currently, only 24% of the cybersecurity workforce is female, according to the latest workforce study conducted by ISC(2)? This article is meant to encourage you in general, and women in particular, to investigate the career opportunities in cybersecurity, as well as to become aware and comfortable with the idea of networking and mentorships to enhance your career goals.
Statistically, women tend to shy away from the same channels that can help them achieve that goal. Many women interested in cybersecurity as a career fail to take advantage of networking opportunities that can help them enter or advance in the field. Networking is one of the most important methods of meeting stakeholders and movers and shakers in information technology.
In this article, we’ll detail critical strategies for getting started in the industry and look at a few of the organizations that focus on cybersecurity networking for both girls and women.
What Does a Cybersecurity Professional Do?
For those who don’t know much about cybersecurity, in a nutshell, a cybersecurity professional is responsible for making sure that our data or digital information is protected.
Cybersecurity has many roles, and most of them are both creative and exciting. Who do you think ensures that your bank accounts and hospital records are hacker-proof? Who do you imagine acts as a cyber-sleuth, checking networks to make sure that our systems are secure? This career is more than coding and sitting in a cubicle all day. You get to be inquisitive, think of innovative ways to stop crime (yes, stealing data is a crime), and work in areas from marketing to instruction, including video production and program development. Most of all, you get to choose where you land!
How to Choose a Mentor
The best way to choose your mentor is to seek out an individual who is already an expert in your area of interest. Research this person’s notable achievements and ability to communicate. What is their track record? Are they respected by their peers? Who have they mentored before you, and who were their mentors in turn? Is the relationship going to better your outlook on your career path? Are they excited about what they do? Do they seem excited about mentoring you? Do they listen well? Are they approachable? These are all factors to consider when choosing a mentor. Remember, in order for this to be a successful union, you must choose each other. Just like in any other relationship, you need to have a common goal.
Opportunities for Girls
Have you heard of Girls Who Code? This STEM-based organization was created to give girls the chance to express themselves creatively through coding. The organization was started with a simple mission, as stated on their website: To close the gender gap in technology.
Another well-known organization which has developed a cybersecurity platform is the Girl Scouts U.S.A. The Girl Scouts now has a Cybersecurity Badge that can be earned as early as the Brownie level. The Girl Scouts are working toward making the National Cybersecurity Badge an important part of the fight to secure our data.
Opportunities for Women
Women In Cybersecurity is an organization that was created to support women who are currently in the field or wishing to enter the profession. They are sponsors of the Women In Cybersecurity annual conference. The organization uplifts, supports, mentors, and educates women on various opportunities in cybersecurity.
The Executive Women’s Forum was founded to give more visibility to female professionals, as well as focus on the opportunities and challenges women face within cybersecurity jobs. They have participated in research and development and would be a great resource for innovative minds. The organization’s website includes forums, conferences, sponsorships, and other valuable resources.
Cybersecurity Ventures, according to their website, is the leading research organization for the cyber economy. The site contains resources and links to many cybersecurity associations and specific cybersecurity topics and information. Cybersecurity Ventures also links to 32 cybersecurity-related associations.
Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu is a nonprofit organization founded to empower women and girls to find careers in the cybersecurity field. The society has ongoing professional development, networking, and career information. The organization also has a division that focuses on girls, called Cyberjutsu Girls Academy.
These are just a few of the many resources that can give a boost to your current career, provide ways to research your areas of interest, and help guide you as you move toward a cybersecurity career.
Stay tuned to our blog going forward. Future posts will describe specific cybersecurity job roles, how to choose a career path, salary information, and certification news.
Stay tuned for more cybersecurity information that can help you achieve your dream career! Until next time, remember your cybersecurity career goals are within reach. You decide your destiny.
Posted by: Shahara Ruth