Calling on women to join the field of cybersecurity

As the cybersecurity skills gap persists, it is imperative to create access to training, career paths and opportunities to encourage more people to pursue careers in cybersecurity. By providing cyber employment access and opportunities to everyone, including women, students, veterans and others, Fortinet is working to encourage greater representation within cybersecurity. Fortinet offers training, certifications and career tools in an effort to bridge the cyber skills gap.

This mission aligns perfectly with one of our education outreach partners, Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS). I recently spoke with Lynn Dohm, Executive Director of WiCyS, about the organization’s partnership with Fortinet and why now is the time for women to enter the cybersecurity field.

Can you tell us more about what WiCyS is doing to help women already engaged or looking to start a career in cybersecurity?

WiCyS is a global community of women, allies and advocates whose mission is to bring together talented women to celebrate and foster their passion and drive for cybersecurity. We unite local communities of current and future female cybersecurity professionals around the world to collaborate, mentor, share knowledge and network. This happens when we create opportunities through conferences, job fairs, professional development programs, etc. In this way, we strive to close the cybersecurity workforce gap and improve the recruitment, retention, and advancement of women in cybersecurity.

How are WiCyS and Fortinet working together to help close the skills gap by empowering women?

We do this in several ways. The first is free training for our members. We partnered with Fortinet in 2020. Our 5,000+ members can take advantage of free awareness and technical training and certifications offered by Fortinet. We have witnessed incredible momentum and enthusiasm from WiCyS members wanting to attend Fortinet training; we’ve seen over 260 course registrations for free training and certification to date, and that number continues to grow.

The second is the new NSE 4 Certification Summer Camp that we launched in July. This first-of-its-kind WiCyS Global Cohort Program provided 100 WiCyS members with the structure, access to professional trainers, and online support to complete the Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) 4 certification. We were encouraged by l enthusiasm of our members for this summer camp, which received more than 300 applications. Access to Fortinet’s award-winning training curriculum and resources helps address the need for more cybersecurity training for women around the world.

Fortinet also became a WiCyS Tier 1 sponsor and VIP sponsor of our 2023 annual conference. This partnership provides more opportunities for both organizations to collaborate on ways to improve diversity in the cyber industry and help bridging the cybersecurity skills gap.

Why should women consider a career in cybersecurity?

Since this industry is hiring as fast as it can, now is the perfect time to enter the cybersecurity field. SAI(2) revealed that there is still a global deficit of 2.7 million positions. According to CyberSeek, there are currently 714,548 vacancies in the United States.

Another benefit is that the tech industry can often offer remote work options and more flexibility than other industries. This is an advantage in general, but it is crucial for women who have dependent children. Twice as many women as men said they had lost their jobs due to childcare issues during the pandemic.

However, the tech sector hasn’t been hit as hard as other sectors, and that’s partly down to the tech industry’s ability to quickly shift to remote work and flexible work arrangements. , indicating greater job security for women.

Today, cybersecurity is one of the IT industries with the highest growth rates and one of the most in-demand skill sets. Cybersecurity is a necessity in every industry, including healthcare, government, transportation, banking, and retail. This offers women the opportunity to work in many industries and diversify their resumes.

What are the benefits for organizations and hiring managers of hiring women in cybersecurity?

The cybersecurity industry needs the soft skills and diversity of perspectives and experiences that women possess. These attributes can help companies combat the diverse backgrounds of cybercriminals. Additionally, a study by Cloverpop found that teams with both female and male perspectives make better business decisions 73% of the time. What drives innovation more than using fresh perspectives, ideas, and experiences to solve today’s problems? Cybersecurity relies on this type of innovation because cybercrime tactics are constantly evolving.

Resume analysis indicates that women bring a wider range of skills to cybersecurity roles. For example, in all four quadrants (personal qualities, leadership, analytical ability and interpersonal skills), women claim 52.5% more soft skills than men. Research shows that these soft skills are critical differentiators for cybersecurity leaders. Women job seekers highlight their analytical skills 150% more frequently and their leadership skills 46% more frequently.

Additionally, organizations have significant cybersecurity staffing gaps to fill – there are approximately 377,000 vacancies in the United States alone – and there are women eager to fill them.

Fortinet TAA and Training Institute support women

By partnering with WiCyS and other organizations focused on supporting women, Fortinet is working to close the cybersecurity skills gap. Women play a critical role in helping to fill critical cyber roles, and Fortinet provides training and career opportunities for them through its Training Advancement (TAA) and Training Institute programs.

Learn more about Fortinet free cybersecurity training initiativeFortinet SNG training program, Security Academy Programand veterans program.

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