A recent article by Bloomberg showed that women are making huge strides when it comes to diversity in the cybersecurity workplace. Cybersecurity and IT, in general, have long been a boys' club. For multiple reasons, women have been kept out of technical roles in favor of their male counterparts.
"Two-thirds of major board spots dedicated to cybersecurity go to women."
Apparently that's changing, or at least it is on an executive level. According to the Bloomberg article, out of the 16 largest U.S. companies that have recently appointed a cybersecurity expert to their board of directors, 10 have chosen a woman to fill the position. In fact, the article states that two-thirds of major board spots dedicated to cybersecurity go to women.
Why the sudden diversity trend?
Of course, one of the biggest reasons behind this has been the recent push toward diversifying the American workplace. U.S. culture is shifting rapidly, giving minorities and oppressed groups more of a presence within the office. People are starting to see the ugly side of discrimination in cybersecurity and IT as a whole, and as such, the landscape of the workplace is gradually shifting.
Another reason for this shift, as stated in the article, has to do with the armed forces. Until the early 1990s, women weren't allowed in many combat units. As such, women that wanted to serve their country had to do so in office jobs. Naturally, many of these women found their way to IT.
Bloomberg discussed this through the experiences of Jan Hamby, chancellor at the National Defense University's iCollege. Hamby had enlisted in the Navy in the 1980s and found herself in the Regional Data Automation Center in Washington. She noted that a majority of her colleagues were women, suggesting that many women got their cybersecurity expertise while serving their country.
Lastly, a big factor in there being more women in cybersecurity is the sheer lack of trained personnel within the industry. Recent projections estimate that more than 200,000 cybersecurity positions are currently open for the taking.
This has a lot to do with the level of training required to fill these roles. Cybersecurity takes more than basic computer training skills. It takes very advanced corporate computer training in cybersecurity, and many positions require some sort of network security certification. As such, many employers are scrambling to find anyone qualified enough to handle their cybersecurity, regardless of gender or race.
Still a long way to go
Although this is certainly a step in the right direction, women in cybersecurity have a long way to go before they can get to the same level their male counterparts have already reached. Estimates from (ISC)2's "Women in Cybersecurity" report state that women only represent 10 percent of the global information security workforce.
Obviously, women working to gain positions in the field of cybersecurity have quite a gap to close. That being said, it's clear that the tides of discrimination in IT are quickly changing.
As with many problems in life, the best way for women to overcome adversity in the workplace is to better educate themselves. Gaining experience such as a CompTIA security certification can give you a leg up in the fight for female equality in IT.
Anyone looking to gain access to the exciting field of cybersecurity should look into the many cybersecurity company IT training courses offered by New Horizons Computer Learning Centers. The wide range of certifications offered can help you grab one of the 200,000 positions waiting to be filled.