IBM, for example, has a program called Women in Security Excelling (WISE) with nearly 800 global participants. The program aims to get more women engaged with security at IBM, with targeted educational opportunities, leadership training and highlighting women as role models. The company also offers high school programs to drive STEM education in underrepresented communities and partners with hundreds of universities around the world, using targeted cybersecurity training and recruitment to teach young people about careers in cybersecurity.

Ultimately, Naidoo told me she has three pieces of advice for women interested in a career in cybersecurity:

  1. Find meaningful work. Discover your passion and follow that line of work. It is easier to excel at work that you love.
  2. Choose your roles wisely. The cybersecurity field offers many roles from business strategy, technology selection or implementation, big data/analysis, fighting crime, to legal and government work. Pick the ones that are appropriate for you and recognize that you can easily build on the role in this field.
  3. Seek out role models. Build a network of knowledgeable people who will advise you, celebrate your successes with you and importantly, who will help you to stand tall when you fail.

Naidoo’s advice seems sensible but there may also be one more important factor. With an alarming 56% of technical women dropping out mid-career due to negative workplace experiences, it seems that your choice of employer and luck in (or pursuit of) getting a supportive manager also can play a huge factor in whether you will find longevity and success as a woman in tech.

In the meantime, the high-growth cyber security industry will create many opportunities in the coming decades, so women with an interest in the area should be sure to explore it . This is an example where individual women chasing higher compensation can cumulatively help close the “great cyber divide” for women and minorities in the field!

Georgene Huang is CEO and co-founder of Fairygodboss, a career and job community for women, by women.

Source: Forbes