Today when students think about their future careers, they find various opportunities open to them that didn’t even exist in the last decade. One industry that is consistently growing in providing opportunities to the students and professionals is the cyber security industry. It is estimated that the cyber security industry will have 3.5 million job openings by 2021. However currently, women only make up 20% of the cyber-security workforce. That’s increased from 11% in 2013, but there’s still a lot of opportunity for women to seize in cyber security industry.
Introduction to Cyber Security
With the ever increasing reliance on online services, cyber security is now more important than ever. The threat of cyber-crime to businesses is rising considerably. Worldwide cyber-crimes have costed an estimated $600 billion USD on an average every year (that’s up from $400 billion in 2015, and $250 in 2013 when McAfee and think tank the Centre for Strategic and International Studies last released a similar study), with the costs incurred by UK business also running in the billions.
Demand for skilled professionals in Cyber Security
Cyber-attacks are extremely expensive for businesses to endure. The average cost of a data breach at a larger firm can be approximately £20,000. However, this purely reflects the monetary damage. It is not just the financial damage suffered by the business or the cost of remediation; a data breach can also have long lasting damage to the reputation of the company.
Therefore businesses need to employ skilled professionals for cyber security. This is important to manage their cyber security that helps improving their risk management and to prevent cyber attacks.
Due to increase in sophisticated hackers, attacks are now more commonplace, and due to that businesses need to almost assume that they will be breached at some point and implement controls that help them to detect and respond to malicious activity before it causes damage and disruption. Businesses need skilled professionals who can deal with attacks and rectify any problems.
Why women should consider Cyber security as their career choice
There is a massive labour shortage in the cyber security field. It has been estimated that, on a global scale, there are over 1 million unfilled cyber security jobs and this is only set to grow. As a result of demand far outpacing supply in the cyber security sector (and cyber attacks aren’t likely to go away in the foreseeable future), job security in this sector is strong.
There are currently international incentives to encourage more girls and women into STEM education and careers. Back in 2013, President Barack Obama remarked:
“One of the things that I really strongly believe in is that we need to have more girls interested in math, science, and engineering. We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent…not being encouraged the way they need to.”
This realisation that women are under-presented in cyber security has meant an increase in the number of programs and scholarships designed to encourage women into this field.
For any woman looking for the opportunity for job security, growth and high pay, cyber security is the place to be.
Top women who marked their footprints in Cyber security
Women have always been at the forefront of cyber security and computing. From Ada Lovelace to Margaret Hamilton, history is filled with women who have contributed hugely to the progression of technology. Here are just three inspiring women who made the list of the 50 most influential women in cyber-security:
Elizabeth Denham – British Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia.
Sarah Taylor – Foreign & Commonwealth Office as Director for Cyber Security
Catherine De Bolle – Executive Director of Europol
Salary prospects in Cyber Security
In the US the annual average salary in cyber security is $80K – $120K. In the UK the average salary for Cyber Security jobs is £72,500.
Cyber security is undoubtedly one of the fastest growing careers sectors that you can find today. Despite representing just 10% of the workforce, women are influencing the sector at every level. The career prospects for women in cyber security are attractive- with job security, room to grow and high salaries. If you’re considering a career in cyber security take a cyber security course to begin your journey.