International Women's Day 2021: Jennifer Geisler, Vectra
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.
How has the women workforce in cybersecurity evolved over recent years? Where is it heading?
Women in cybersecurity workforce has grown over recent years along with women filling in the ranks. Today, twenty four percent of the cybersecurity workforce are women. A stronger indicator of growth is that 45% of these women are millennials! Each generation is paving the way for the next. There will be more women role models and mentors to encourage more women to join this exciting profession. With the availability of credible online cybersecurity courses, women can work around other demands to get training. There is greater demand for cybersecurity professionals than they are people to fill them. This naturally forces people to look beyond any subconscious bias and be purely focused on getting the right person in the right role.
What advice would you give to young women looking to enter into cybersecurity?
1. Go for it! Cybersecurity is great career for women who like to solve problems, hunt down cybercriminals, protect people and assets, test resiliency and/or teach others. There are over 20 different roles in cybersecurity so you have lots of options. So don’t disqualify yourself because you think you don’t meet a generalized description. Play to your strengths and identify the role that is right for you. With over 2900 entry level jobs posted on Indeed, there is plenty of opportunity.
2. Ask for help. Flattering works so reach out to cybersecurity professionals – both male and female – and ask for 30 minutes to learn from them. You can also contact one of many Women in Cybersecurity groups such as The SANS CyberTalent Women’s Immersion Academy, The Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC), Women in Cybersecurity, The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies For a comprehensive list visit the NICCS Women and Minorities Webpage.
Ask for financial aid. There are scholarships in support of cybersecurity education such as the Ralph W. Shrader Graduate Diversity Scholarship, AFCEA War Veterans Scholarships, and the International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals. Some companies will help pay for you to cross-train into cybersecurity or fund continued education.