It’s no secret that tech and STEM jobs tend to be dominated by men. From a young age, women have it ingrained in their heads that these jobs tend to be “masculine,” and are encouraged to stay away from jobs in the STEM field. This is reflected in the small number of women currently serving in cybersecurity jobs-- a measly 20% of the workforce. While this number is up from the 2013 numbers of just 11%, most women still feel too intimidated to enter the field and those that do take a job in cybersecurity feel a negative stigma attached to it.
Closing the gender gap in cybersecurity not only helps diversify the field, but it also helps business. Bringing in more women, as well as other people from different demographics and backgrounds, helps defend against a wider range of hackers and attackers, who similarly come from a variety of backgrounds. Despite the push for more women in the cybersecurity workforce, many women notice they are often the only women in the room, and thus feel they have to work harder for the same opportunities and recognition they may get. At DefRadar, we recognize the value of having more women in the workforce and are committed to doing everything we can to help promote female empowerment and diversification in cybersecurity. Here are some of the top recommended tips on how to break into a career in cybersecurity as a woman:
- Take Risks. Don’t be afraid to take a chance by applying for whatever cybersecurity jobs you want. Try not to be intimidated by the lack of women in the field, and instead use it as an advantage as you fight for more opportunities and recognition. You may have to apply for several positions to work your way up in the field, and that’s okay! Think of it all as a learning experience, while staying motivated to break into the field.
- Network and Find Mentors. Consider networking with more industry professionals, men and women, to make connections within the field. Join groups Women in CyberSecurity or Women in Technology to help you meet people. From there, treat these connections as mentors, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Mentors can provide invaluable guidance and advice for you as you navigate the workforce, and if you find a female mentor, try to learn what she did best and her mistakes, so you can find similar success.
- Know Your Value. Though it’s important to keep these statistics and stigmas in mind, know your worth, and act with confidence. Try to speak assertively and decisively to make sure your voice is heard, and remember to always push hard when you believe strongly in an idea. Always try to keep in mind that your contributions are just as important and valued as much as the men in the room, even if they don’t treat you that way. You’re worth it!
- Growth Mindset. There is always room to grow in any field, but especially in cybersecurity where things are constantly changing and improving. No matter what your level of expertise is, treat every day like a new challenge and like there is something to learn. Having a growth mindset will set you apart from those who are stuck in their ways.
- Level the Playing Field. If you’re feeling like you’re behind your colleagues with cybersecurity jobs, then level the playing field! Get certified in cybersecurity, take online courses, and learn the proper vocabulary. Having these communication and professional skills will go a long way in the field, and more people will respect you when they see you can discuss these topics in a concise and competent way.
Looking to break into cybersecurity, but think you need a stronger background? Enroll in one of DefRadar’s online courses. With classes in Privacy and Data Protection and Career Development, you’ll learn valuable information and tips that will help you find success in the field of cybersecurity. Our Career Development course includes 6.5 hours of video content, 12 learning plans, 9 CV writing exercises and many other documents. The All in One Privacy course includes more than 30 hours of video content, around 100 templates that you can start reusing right away and 10 files with exercises/projects. Both offer a money-back guarantee so you can be sure it is the perfect fit. Enroll today or learn more at our website.