This is part of a running series for #IWD2021. We sat down with women leaders across the industry for a Q&A to get their insights on the state of women in cybersecurity. Recognize Women Leaders in the 2021 Tech Ascension Awards.
Claire Trimble, CMO at Illusive:
How has the women workforce in cybersecurity evolved over recent years? Where is it heading?
Well, it hasn’t evolved as much as I would like. Not only is cyber still a male dominated field, but in general there is a massive cybersecurity skills gap in terms of students and talent pursuing cyber as a career path. Today, there are some amazing female leaders that have emerged as either CISOs or CEOs, which I absolutely love seeing. We do need to continue to celebrate women and make examples of the female leaders that are in cyber today, but also demonstrate why a woman would want to pursue a career in cyber.
What advice would you give to young women looking to enter into cybersecurity?
If you have a passion for cybersecurity, the opportunities are endless. Don’t let the fact that you don’t see a lot of women in cyber be a deterrent. Find a mentor early on - someone that can advise you and guide you on personal growth and career decisions. Mentors don’t have to be just women. Make sure you have a network of both men and women that will help you in your career. Cybersecurity is such a complex and unpredictable market, which makes it exciting. Make sure you are constantly learning and investing in education - no one in this space has all the answers!
How can we get more women involved in cybersecurity?
Hiring managers need to make sure that there is a diverse slate of candidates when they are hiring. Even if it takes longer to find the right candidate, the bench of candidates must be diverse and women need to be represented. Also, the women that are in cyber need to play an active role in recruiting, networking and evangelizing cybersecurity. Evangelizing cybersecurity isn’t just about talking about being a woman in cyber, it’s about knowing your stuff and being an expert in your domain.