Opportunities for women in cybersecurity

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Even though cybersecurity jobs pay well, far fewer women than men are entering the field. According to Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2020 (ISC) ², gender disparities persist around the world. The highest percentage of female cybersecurity professionals is found in Latin America, at 40%, while in North America, the figure is only 21%. The results in Europe and Asia-Pacific are 23% and 30% respectively.

Cyber ​​security is not just about becoming a code jockey; critical thinking skills, curiosity, and problem-solving skills greatly contribute to success in the field. And due to the continuing talent shortage, cybersecurity salaries are high. According to Wage scale, the average base salary for a cybersecurity analyst ranges from $ 64,235 for entry-level positions to $ 112,984 for experienced professionals.

Much has been written about the demand for cybersecurity skills, but the (ISC)2 A study shows that we still lack 3.12 million professionals. Interestingly, according to one Fortinet ransomware investigation, after suffering a ransomware attack, nearly 50% of organizations surveyed invested in more cybersecurity resources. Women make up 51% of the population, which means that there is an extremely underutilized resource pool.

Where are all the women?

A question that is often asked is why there aren’t more women in cybersecurity? One of the reasons is perception. To this day, the media continues to perpetuate the old stereotype of the hooded hacker beating a dark room all alone on a keyboard. This lonely guy doesn’t even look like someone you want to get to know, let alone follow in his work footsteps.

Another oft-cited problem is the lack of female role models and encouragement to pursue careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Many women simply haven’t met anyone working in cybersecurity. It’s hard to imagine doing a job that you don’t know much about. Research by Girls who code showed that although 74% of college girls express an interest in STEM subjects, only 0.4% of high school girls choose to major in computer science.

Also, a lot of people feel like you need to be a math genius or a programming genius to have a career in cybersecurity, but according to Sarah Ryba – a network engineer at Liquid Networx with whom I recently had a career in cybersecurity. talk about women pursuing STEM careers – what you really need is to love learning new things. She noted that “technology is constantly evolving and advancing. There is always more to learn and to excel, and I really like that aspect of the business.

Sarah won the gold medal at the Fortinet Ultimate Fabric Challenge 2021, which demonstrates her cybersecurity skills and expertise. She has a Fortinet network security expert (NSE) Level 7 certification and is currently working on a bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity. Regarding her career choice, she says: “Weighing the options I had, cybersecurity provided growth, variety, limitless challenges, and most importantly, it was something impactful that I did. could contribute. ” Like Sarah, there is an opportunity for women to explore a career in STEM, especially cybersecurity, and women should not let stereotypes or misperceptions deter them from pursuing this path.

New career; New opportunities

As the pandemic continues, many people are reassessing their work choices. Employers complain about labor shortages in all areas, customer service and research restaurants. The reasons for the big resignation of 2021 are often linked to the desires of the employees for more flexibility, money and job satisfaction. Gallup even goes so far as to say that the The great resignation is really the great discontent; their survey showed that the reason people quit their jobs in droves is not related to any particular industry, role or salary. The highest resignation rate is found among “uncommitted and actively disengaged workers”.

Women can play an important role in bridging the cybersecurity skills gap that continues to challenge organizations. If you are wondering if cybersecurity is for you, its easy to tell if it is similar to Sarah Ryba, you find the topics interesting by subscribing to free lessons offered by the Fortinet NSE Training Institute. Sarah says, “In addition to providing a sense of accomplishment, the courses have dramatically expanded my knowledge base not only on Fortinet products, but safety in general. There have been countless occasions where NSE material has propelled my investigative skills and facilitated problem solving. “

If you’re a woman just entering the workforce or considering a career change, Sarah offers you one final piece of advice: “Most importantly, don’t let anything detract from your goals. If cybersecurity is the path you want to take, focus and persistence is essential. “

The potential is there; all you have to do is take the first step.

Find out how Fortinet Training advancement program (AAT) and NSE training institute programs, including Certification program, Security Academy Program and Veterans Program, help fill the cyber skills gap and prepare the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow.

Copyright © 2021 IDG Communications, Inc.

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