This post is the first in a three part series on the Women in Cybersecurity Conference.
On March 31st through April 2nd, women from academia, government, and industry from around the globe gathered in Dallas, Texas for Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) Conference. This three-day long event was designed to both enhance the state of cyber security and to raise awareness about the importance and nature of a cybersecurity career. This is the capstone event for a community of interest that has grown around this community of engagement, encouragement and support for women in cybersecurity.
The conference began with workshops with women professionals in the cybersecurity workforce.
This conference shed light on just how few women are working in the field of cybersecurity – only 10% of cybersecurity professionals are women. Michele Myauo, from Microsoft, who presented in the “Distinguished Speakers Session” on “What Really Matters”, highlighted interesting statistics with regards to women in the workplace. With 50% of the population made up of women, 57% of professional occupations in the 2015 U.S. workforce are held by women, and yet men still dominate in the industry of cybersecurity (ncwit.org). Two-thirds of women who earn a degree in CS are not still employed in a technical job 2 years after graduation. Fifty-six percent of technical women leave at a ‘mid-level’ point, when the loss of their talent is costliest to companies. This rate is more than double the quit rate of men.
This conference brought together women with similar interests and expertise. It merged students with companies seeking their talents and linked teachers and professors with current research and data. According to Forbes, the escalating cybersecurity market is expected to grow from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020. There are more than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. that are unfilled, and postings are up 74% over the past five years (forbes.com). The cybersecurity job market is exponentially on the rise with projections of 6 million cybersecurity job openings by 2019. With an increase in job openings in the cybersecurity field, there is a great need for cybersecurity professionals.
Women in high-level positions from across the globe came to speak at WiCyS. The first keynote speaker was Jillian Munro, SVP of Fidelity Investments, Enterprise Cybersecurity. Munro addressed how criminals are driving our businesses. Data breaches are bigger and costing more than ever before. Munro spoke to how non-traditional skills now apply to cybersecurity and how we must be more business focused in our approach to cybersecurity. Munro addressed the process of how she ended up where she is today, saying that “when you get in a position to bring other women along, do it.”
The Women in Cybersecurity Conference is organized by The Cybersecurity Education, Research and Outreach Center at Tennessee Tech in partnership with The University of Texas, Dallas, the conference was attended by around 750 where 50% were students aspiring to have a career in this field.
Find more information on Women in Cybersecurity Conference here.
Follow @WiCySConference on Twitter.
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