Skilled cybersecurity professionals are increasingly sought after, especially as the skills shortage reaches 4 million. This skills gap raises several questions about sourcing talent in an industry that is generally perceived to be male dominated. Indeed, in March 2019 it was revealed that women consist of only 20% of the cybersecurity workforce.
In an industry dominated by numbers, something doesn’t add up. It’s no wonder that as an industry we are struggling to fill job vacancies when we are neglecting half of the population! The beauty of IT is that it provides opportunities for anyone with talent and determination. So, why are so few women getting involved in the trade when we are blessed with both?
Being a woman in a male-heavy job role puts you under increased scrutiny, especially when you’re talking to a room of mostly men. This means that you may have to be even more engaged and driven to learn. The best way to combat scrutiny is with firm knowledge of the processes that you’re working with. This is critical for understanding the business reasons behind why you are doing something, either internally as a business or externally with your customers. With every action you have to ensure that you’re bringing value back.
Whatever you do, do it with confidence. Confidence and ambition are the formula for success when trying to get into any industry. It’s important to learn very early on that being a woman doesn’t hold you back from getting a foot on the IT ladder, only apathy will hold you back. In an industry that is short on workers, but heavy on investment there should be nothing standing in your way, especially not a man.
Don’t be afraid to overcompensate and overachieve in order to exaggerate your position as a young female at an early stage in the industry. This will help you compensate for the fact that men currently make up 80% of the industry. However, don’t let your desire to outperform majority demographic of the workforce change you. It can be easy to lose yourself in a competitive job landscape, but it is essential to maintain who you are as a person and never compromise that for anyone.
Changing the gender imbalance of the IT industry will only be possible if we work together. If we want to change the standards of the tech industry, then it is essential that we empower confident and creative women to lead by example and blaze a trail in the workplace.