We need way more women in this niche and rewarding industry

Dec 2 2019, 3:20 pm

Engineers, IT workers, mechanics, carpenters, and plumbers. When we think of these professions, the person that often comes to mind is male. After all, when was the last time you asked for the “IT girl” to come and help you with your frozen computer screen?

In 2019, more and more male-dominated industries are aware of this imbalance and are encouraging women to enter these workforces.

Cybersecurity is one of these, and it’s tackling a huge gender gap. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, only 11% of people in the industry were women in 2013.

Already things are looking up. As of 2019, 20% of people employed in the field were women. But there’s still a long way to go to meet gender parity in cybersecurity jobs across Canada.

Women with laptops/Unsplash

Beyond filling the gender gap, having more women in cybersecurity supports a woman-centred approach in an industry where women are often victimized.

Think of inappropriate sexually explicit text messages, threats of violence in emails, and harassment in chat rooms and instant messenger — all of which affect women more than men. More women working in cybersecurity means more women helping women.

A report on the topic discusses the imbalance between males and females in the industry, noting that “we can’t achieve gender parity in the cybersecurity industry without visibility. The point is that siloed efforts must be joined together in order to rise above the noise in tech.”

As one woman director who works in cybersecurity pointed out, “It’s not always easy being a woman in cybersecurity, but it’s extremely important.”

Women at computer/Unsplash

So what does a career in cybersecurity entail? You’ve probably heard of those emails where a Nigerian prince claims he desperately needs your help to move his riches from his country to yours — and all he needs is your bank account details.

Although most of us would (hopefully) not be sucked into such a scam, cyber-security issues are still a serious issue today. And the thrill of keeping these threats at bay and keeping our community safe is an exciting career choice.

Network systems/Shutterstock

There are plenty of opportunities out there, too. According to Burning Glass, cybersecurity positions have increased by 94% since 2013 — a rate three and a half times larger than computer jobs. And the industry offers an attractive paycheck too, with CNN’s reporting an average salary for a cybersecurity analyst as $95,700.

Northeastern University’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity Program combines IT with law, social sciences, criminology, and management, and is a great way for women to break into the industry. Graduates in recent years have an incredible record of 100% employment, with jobs at Facebook, Google, and even the US Army and Navy.

Northeastern Cybersecurity Scholarship/Northeastern University

Three new students to the Toronto program even have the opportunity to be awarded the Women in Cybersecurity Scholarship of $10,000 CAD. All you have to do to get started is apply.

The gender gap in the world of cybersecurity is slowly but surely closing, and Canada has the opportunity to bring more women into the workforce.

Not only is it an exciting career path, but there are more opportunities now than ever for those who enter the industry. Northeastern’s Master of Science in Cybersecurity is a great way to begin your path to a career in cybersecurity, and with the opportunity to be awarded a scholarship, it couldn’t be a more exciting time for women in the industry.

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