Due to the inevitable rise of Cybercrime, there will be an additional 3.5million cybersecurity jobs by 2021, according to Cybersecurity ventures.
As a nation, we are confidently hoping this will kickstart and repair our unemployment statistics with new skills that will carry us through the 21st century. It will give some of our budding high school leavers and college graduates, the incentive to work and be proud to work in cyber security.
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Cyber securities' ever extending reach into every area of our lives will allow young Americans to work to protect their country, companies and personal lives from foreign threats and place America in the lead with global cyber innovations.
The employment future looks bright, but does it look equal?
With only 20% of the Cybersecurity workforce being female, we will need to radically rethink how to engage women and aggressively promote cyber security careers as a female friendly industry, full of opportunities, regardless of gender.
Why do we need women?
We will need both men and women to fill these roles in equal numbers, for a few reasons:
- Cybercrime hits women as hard, if not harder, than men in terms of sexual predation over the internet. Cash extortions are also affecting female internet users more than men and we are going to need female input, cooperation and communication to counterattack.
- Being a nation where 50.8% is female and college campuses are 56% female, we simply won't have the male resources to fulfil the work gaps and we will be forced to outsource, tremendously. With 15% of the military and 25% of IT staff being women, Cyber security is seriously lagging behind our other industries.
To fill these jobs with American women will be a challenge and many things will have to change, foremostly our perceptions of cyber security itself, starting with education.
Cyber Security Schooling
The industry will need to welcome women through a more even-handed image of cyber security throughout the education system to counter existing male-dominated and quite untrue narratives of the history and development of cyber security.
Seems a little extreme, however, as the narrative of Computer science and cyber security has been built in such a way to exclude women, then the only way to challenge this is to 'disrupt' the entire ecosystem.
- History must be taught in a more gender balanced way.
Women who have played pivotal roles in cyber security must be taught about. From the code girls of the Second World War, to the 7000 cryptanalysts at Bletchley park to the women Cyber spies posing as Iraqi and Afghan in extremist chat room, women need to be mentioned. We will be doing this during CyberHub Summit this year in Atlanta.
Curricula that promote technology for girls have to be implemented, full force. Great new examples of these are Girls Who Code, and the US Girl Scouts organization that recently introduced cybersecurity as a skill badge and CyberHub Summit will be hosting the young girl scout women going for this badge and discussing Cyberbullying initiatives as well.
- Invite Women to the Debate
For upcoming Cyber security conferences, female experts and speakers must be invited. There are plenty to choose from including 18,000 women in tech from last year's Grace Hopper Celebration or any of the experts from the WiCyS and the Diana Initiative. See the speakers at this year’s CyberHub Summit.
- Graduate Hiring Policies
Hire women in cohorts so they don’t feel isolated, excluded or simply 'token' employees.
We have to start somewhere.
With the rapid advancements in cybercrime and a historical opportunity to both provide sustainable jobs whilst readdressing inequalities within the workplace – it's time to include all our citizens, regardless of gender.