Today is International Women’s Day, something I wholeheartedly support. While we have made huge strides in achieving gender parity, all of us still need to continue pushing for progress. This year’s theme of #ChoosetoChallenge is all about speaking out against bias and inequality to create an inclusive world.
In recent years, more women have joined the cybersecurity industry with women now comprising twenty four percent of the cybersecurity workforce. A strong indicator of progress is that 45 percent of these women are millennials! This current generation will pave the way as role models and mentors who can encourage the next generation of women to join this exciting industry. With the availability of credible online cybersecurity courses, women from all walks for life have the opportunity to receive the training required.
Today, there’s a greater demand for cybersecurity professionals than there are people available. This should logically allow people to look beyond any subconscious bias and instead focus on selecting the right person for the right role. The reality however is that we have to move from subconscious bias to conscious action.
Cybersecurity is great career for anyone who likes to solve difficult problems, hunt down cybercriminals, protect people and critical assets. As recent news has demonstrated, it very much includes protecting our country too. There are over 20 different types of roles in cybersecurity, so there is no shortage of options. Don’t disqualify yourself because you may not fit a generalized description. Play to your strengths and apply for the role that feels right for you. With over 2,900 entry level jobs posted on Indeed, there are plenty of opportunities to get started. By the way, these roles pay well! We also have a number of opportunities available.
If you want to get your foot in the door but aren’t sure how to do so, I encourage you to network with cybersecurity professionals and participate in one of the numerous Women in Cybersecurity groups. Here are a few to get you started: The SANS CyberTalent Women’s Immersion Academy, The Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC), Women in Cybersecurity, and The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies. For a comprehensive list of groups, visit the NICCS Women and Minorities page.
Let’s celebrate International Women’s Day by showing solidarity with women, from family members to colleagues to strangers around the world. Today serves as a reminder that together we can collectively advocate to support and uplift people around us. Above all, we should strive to dismantle harmful biases every day by calling out inequality and prejudice.
I challenge myself, as well as the Vectra team to choose to cultivate inclusivity through conscious action and advocacy.
We need to ensure that women make up half our workforce in every capacity. It is not just the right thing to do, it is the smart thing to do.
Hitesh Sheth is the president and CEO of Vectra. Previously, he held the position of chief operating officer at Aruba Networks. Hitesh joined Aruba from Juniper Networks, where he was EVP/GM for its switching business and before that, SVP for the Service Layer Technologies group, which included security. Prior to Juniper, he held a number of senior management positions in the switching organization at Cisco, including running its metro Ethernet business. Before Cisco, he held executive and engineering management positions at Liberate Technologies and Oracle Corporation. He started his career as a Unix programmer at the Santa Cruz Operation. Hitesh holds a BA degree in Computer Science from the University of Texas at Austin.