It’s one of those issues that begs a question to which there isn’t a logical answer — Why are there so few women in cybersecurity? According to the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, a Washington, D.C.-area nonprofit focused on empowering women to succeed in cybersecurity, women make up only 11% of the world’s cybersecurity workforce. This shockingly low number is especially confounding given today’s critical shortage of cybersecurity professionals. It’s estimated that the cybersecurity workforce is short by from 3.5 to 4 million professionals. That’s millions of cybersecurity jobs that can’t be filled because there aren’t enough people with the right experience and certifications to answer the call. So, then, why are there so few women in cybersecurity when there are so many opportunities? The numbers are especially concerning because cyberattacks are on the rise. It’s a perfect storm. More threats, fewer professionals to fight them.
Management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG) surveyed 2,000 female STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) undergraduate students from 26 countries in 6 regions. While the survey uncovered several interesting reasons for the lack of women in cybersecurity, one reason sticks out more than others — there aren’t enough role models in the industry. It stands to reason that there aren’t enough role models because women make up only 11% to 25% of the cybersecurity workforce. But it also underscores the importance of women in cybersecurity to mentor others who have turned to technology — more specifically cybersecurity — as a career.
Interesting, Insightful Information From Those in the Field
Radware has the unique opportunity to work with many women in technology and cybersecurity. So, to celebrate International Women’s Day 2023, we turned to our customers — in this case, women — who continually provide us with interesting, insightful responses to questions we present to them. In this case, we asked them to provide advice and suggestions for women who are interested in working in technology and cybersecurity.
“I personally think that women are better at defensive cybersecurity roles. I believe it’s more ‘in our blood’. Women are blue teamers. Unfortunately, I think a lot of women think that cybersecurity and technology is a man’s world. But I think women may have a different, even better, point of view. I think we’re great at paying attention to the details and intuition. This often seems to happen well before it’s proven out through traditional means.”
“Just go for it and help inspire others to continue. Work on learning how to remove any self-doubt. Of course, the best way is by studying, reading and learning.”
“Remain confident about the skills you bring to the table and be just as assertive about your thoughts. Cybersecurity is a fun, rewarding line of work and offers varied opportunities. Knowing that you’re working to make others’ lives safer will provide a lot of motivation to be at your best. Also, be open-minded; it will lead to constructive, informative and enlightening discussions with the customer. Also, be ready to be challenged and never take things personally.”
“With the huge gap of cybersecurity specialists and so few women in it, they need to empower themselves and take advantage of this moment in time. We may not see it again. The time to act is now.”
“I think it’s important to gain knowledge and experience working on networks first. It’s great to work on and learn the basics; from there, you can more easily gain a foothold, which will help you transition into cybersecurity.”
“Find somebody you’d like to serve as a mentor and ask them if they’re interested in helping you out. It’s amazing how eager people are to help. And they’ll be flattered that you’re asking for their help, experience and expertise. Then, make sure and pay it forward by doing the same for others once you’ve established yourself in the industry.”
“Don’t be afraid to ask questions until you understand. Many women may think others will see them asking questions as proof that they shouldn’t be doing the job. It’s ridiculous, of course. Everybody has questions. No exceptions there.”
“It’s great for women to be in cybersecurity for a number of reasons, not the least of which is because it creates needed diversity in perspectives, leadership and experience. That’s all good for business. Also, by bringing women’s perspectives and problem-solving and innovative abilities to cybersecurity, it will strengthen the industry as a whole.”
Needed: Women to Fight Cyber Threats!
If you’re a woman interested in a career in cybersecurity, there’s never been a better time than now. In 2022:
- DDoS attacks were up over 200%,
- The number of cyber threats blocked by Radware doubled each quarter, and
- The average volume Radware blocked per customer per month was 3.39 TB (terabits).
In other words, cybersecurity professionals are needed now more than ever. And that need will only increase. Unfortunately, cyber threats are here to stay. Fortunately, you can help fight them.
Cybersecurity is an exciting, much-needed career. Please check out Radware’s Career page to see our current openings. We’d love to hear from you.
Barendra Gochhi, Jon Bland, Kiran Dhondkar, Satyen Madkaikar, Horacio Quiteno, Rajesh Garg, Maverick Hurley, Zisi Zisi and Abinash Sethi
I think a good blog comment motivated a writer very much. Nice to read it