Closing The Great Canadian Cyber Skills Gap
Industry & Education: Partners in Cyber Security Recruitment
The best strategy to increase representation in the cyber industry is retention and career development. Educators and industry partners should work collaboratively to ensure this happens. Programs such as mentorships and internships can help students transition into the workforce, and there should be more of these opportunities dedicated to women. Progression plans also need to be put in place to move these same people up in their careers. We can bring women into our programs, but without a clear career development path, they will leave.
International Women in Cyber Day is a perfect opportunity for employers to assess their organization’s hiring and career development strategies. Now is the time to ensure that an organization’s hiring strategy encompasses all available pipelines. Are there tactics in place to develop internal talent? Can women visualize a career in cyber within the organization?
Cyber hygiene and cyber principles should be taught at a young age. The sooner we can attract young women into STEM careers, the better. Cyber hygiene and terminology can be taught as early as kindergarten. All schools should have a cyber program, and if they don’t, the question of why should be asked. If girls don’t know that cyber security is a career option, how can they ever consider it as one?
Ultimately, we need to change the narrative around cyber careers. These careers help people, keep people safe, and keep our information safe. All too often, when thinking of cyber workers, we picture someone sitting in a dark basement hacking into a database. What we don’t see are the people on the other side of the screen – the cyber analysts and security professionals who save the day. By changing how our culture views cyber careers, we can empower more women to enter the field.
Cyber Careers for All
There is still a large gap in roles that need to be filled by people who identify as women in the tech industry – and even fewer women are in cyber. But with organizations, mentors, and internships dedicated to supporting women entering into cyber careers, we hope to see this narrative change quickly.
Cyber careers are for everyone, and more and more people are starting to understand that.
Ashley Mataya is the Senior Manager of Cyber Partnerships at Lighthouse Labs.