Tech Industry

Where Are All the Women in Cybersecurity?

Reading time 5min

The fact that the cybersecurity industry is mostly male-dominated isn’t news to any of us. According to Cybercrime Magazine, the total number of women working in the global cybersecurity workforce makes up a measly average of 20%.

You read that right. Currently, around 80% of worldwide cybersecurity jobs are being executed by men. Strange as it may sound, the issue isn’t necessarily female exclusionary.

Rather, there aren’t enough women applying for these cyber safety jobs.

Today, we'll explain why there are so few women working in cybersecurity–and why the industry desperately needs to attract more females, pronto.

What Exactly is Cybersecurity?

What Exactly is Cybersecurity?

So before we jump into the WHY, let’s understand the WHAT. In this case, we’re referring to about what cybersecurity is.

In simple words, to work in cybersecurity means to implement technologies, processes, and controls to protect networks, systems, data, and devices from illegal exploitation (i.e. those nasty cyber criminals wanting to spy on you/your business).

Cybersecurity’s purpose is to defend resources against any menace that might threaten your personal data secrecy. This comprises any personal information, intellectual property (IPs), sensitive data, protected health information (PHI), and even governmental systems.

Skills Needed to Work in Cybersecurity

To name a few of the top skills wanted for cybersecurity jobs, we can consider:

  • Problem-solving
  • Attention to detail
  • Technical aptitude
  • An ever-growing desire to learn
  • Knowledge of security across various platforms
  • Communication skills
  • Essential computer forensics skills
  • Cyber hacking knowledge

To work as a cyber security engineer means aiming to protect daily devices we are all guilty of using (mobile phones, laptops, tablets, and, of course, computers). And without a proper cybersecurity system set in place, your organization won’t be able to effectively defend itself against unpredictable digital attacks.

Why Are There So Few Women Working in Cybersecurity Jobs?

Why Are There So Few Women Working in Cybersecurity Jobs?

Let’s delve into why the cybersecurity industry is seriously lacking female workforce support.

One of the commonly seen issues remains (unsurprisingly) the lack of female role models and incentive to pursue such STEM careers (science, tech, engineering, and mathematics).

The lack of female leads in the cyberspace makes this career a grey area for many women around the world.

Girls Who Code, a nonprofit organization which aims to support and increase the number of women in computer science, did research on the subject with shocking results.

According to their study, a staggering 74% of middle school girls express interest in STEM subjects, but only a meager 0.4% of those girls end up choosing to major in computer science.

But we're living in the year 2021. The world has come a long way with regards to women stepping up and demanding equal rights (and fair pay) from their male peers.

Women of the new century are breaking the wheel and setting unprecedented standards for new generations to come.

And with this, of course, redefining the cybersecurity space.

To change the industry’s status quo, it’s important that women step up their game to remain relevant. This can be done by upscaling their coding skills with courses and promoting the industry to other females by actively networking in this field.

The Importance of Having More Women Working in Cybersecurity

The Importance of Having More Women Working in Cybersecurity

In the words of Jennifer Sunshine Steffens, CEO of cybersecurity services provider IOActive, “without women on a cybersecurity team you lose out on a lot of diverse perspectives.”

In this ever-growing globalized world, having a diversified mindset (i.e. team) can make or break the future success of your business. And promoting diversity not only of nationalities, but of genders and ages, helps organizations remain competitive.

Indeed, Jacquie Young, Senior Director of Channels, APAC, Tenable, expanded by saying, “Innovation sits at the core of cybersecurity and failing to innovate would mean we’re not delivering new solutions to keep people and businesses safe in the changing threat landscape. If everyone on a security team thinks the same, the race has already been lost with attackers.”

Having a diversified personnel is fundamental to unleashing any team or organization’s full potential. Only through increased integration and diversity can the technology industry (and, more specifically, cybersecurity) achieve greater ingenuity and innovation.

And, as you may understand, thinking outside the box is one of the most powerful skills a cybersecurity specialist can have. It allows the professional to remain one step ahead of creative digital attackers.

So, having more women in the cybersecurity space means:

  • Helping to bring different visions and ideas to the table
  • Changing the status quo to increase internal and external perceptions
  • Providing learning and progress opportunities

How to Get Started in Cybersecurity

How to Get Started in Cybersecurity

So regardless if you’re a woman, a man, or a penguin, if you’ve taken time to read this article, then I am guessing you have some sort of interest in cybersecurity (and I commend you, my friend).

It's true. There are significant barriers for women in tech who are trying to get started in cybersecurity (possibly even more for penguins—sorry, my penguin readers), but the good news is that there are ways for motivated women to break through those pesky male walls.

For those of you already in the tech space, you may find internal opportunities at your current employers (not only do they recognize the need for more cybersecurity professionals, but supporting women to join this workforce makes them stand out as a forward-thinking organization).

If you have a mentor, this is the time to reach out to them (regardless if he’s a man). If you don’t know anyone, you’ll have a greater chance of finding these professionals at conferences, workshops, meetups, and even other industry events.

Time to get networking.

If you don't have a tech background but are an aspiring cyber nerd, you should consider enhancing your skills with some courses. Providers such as Skillshare and Udemy are fantastic places to acquire tech skills online (and you can get one month free on each).

By studying the nuances of cybersecurity, not only will you learn the necessary skills needed to qualify for a cyber safety job, but you'll also be equipped to enter the field with the confidence and determination that comes from knowing you are qualified to protect an organization from digital attackers.

So, are you ready to start applying to jobs in Cybersecurity? TieTalent can help you find unrivaled opportunities in Switzerland and Germany. Sign up now.

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