I posted an Instagram story to ask women if they belong to or know of other women who are a part of the cybersecurity workforce in India. The response was quite vanilla. Close to nil, you can say. Google had my back, though ﹘ it told me that about 52% of women hold advanced educational degrees in cyber security, compared to 44% of men. Yet when it comes to the reflection of these numbers in the workplace, there’s a massive disparity.
Before I list the reasons for women to consider making a career in cyber security, let me decode what this profession is all about. By definition, cyber security is the practice of defending computers, servers, mobile devices, electronic systems, networks, and data from malicious and spiteful attacks.
Our lives are highly reliant on technology, especially post-COVID. Everything is just a click away. And while this can be looked at as a boon, living our life online, unfortunately, invites a lot of cons as well. It provides ample opportunities for fraudsters to dupe you of your money and other crucial data. But cyber security is your full-time online bodyguard.
Now, research suggests that most Indian women are discouraged to pursue technical or scientific professions, courtesy parental and societal brainwashing.
The belief that women are wired to perform better in ‘soft professions’ always takes centre stage.
But times are gradually changing, and the field of cyber security wants to onboard more female employees every year, for several reasons. So, if cyber security is your jam, but you need more validation and motivation to step into its core, then you’re reading the right list!
Here’s Why A Career In Cyber Security Has Benefits For You
1. You’re Signing Up For A Secured Job
Cyber crimes have increased three-folds since the pandemic has begun. Cybercriminals are developing new strategies and ways to exploit the uncertainty that COVID-19 and its economic and social outcomes have brought with it. Clearly, cyber attacks aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, which makes cybersecurity a stable profession.
In fact, due to a global shortage of staff, the industry needs more manpower (or, dare we say, womanpower) to sail through the dearth of employees. So, if you are looking for solid job security, exploring this option might just prove beneficial.
2. Cyber Security Reaps Great Pay
Gone are the days when cyber security favoured men. The field now needs a fresh outlook; an enviable spin. Over time, the industry has ensured that all its employees get equal pay and an equal opportunity to prove their mettle. Cyber security as a field is inclined to value talent and skill, courtesy the extreme drought it has faced when it comes to recruiting employees.
In India, your starting package would be anywhere between 4 to 12 lakhs per annum. It depends on several general factors like the number of years of experience you have, your designation, and your willingness to learn. However, in 2021, be rest assured that your pay will not be gender-dependent.
3. You Get To Protect Other Women From Cyber Crimes
There is no end to cyber crimes against women. Whether it’s cyber stalking, cyber defamation, morphing, cyber pornography, cyber flirting, cyber bullying, harrassment via email or cyber sexual defamation, abusers are getting creative and finding ways to harass women even online!
According to a report by the United Nations,
About 35% of women are survivors of online abuse, and more than 60% alone have faced threats on social media.
Cyber security needs more women in the field because very few would understand the severity of cyber crime against women like a female cyber security professional. The industry needs women who would fight against these crimes with passion and emotion, while also approaching the problem practically.
4. Companies Want To Diversify & Make You A Part Of Them
In 2013, women represented just about 11% of the worldwide cybersecurity workforce. As of 2021, women hold more than 25% of cybersecurity jobs globally. With so many vacant jobs in the space already, it is detrimental to narrow down opportunities by negating the pool of talent that women will bring in with them.
Cybersecurity Ventures states that by the end of 2021, there will be more than 3.5 million job openings in this field. And women represent a significant percentage of the world’s population. Therefore, the need to get more women onboard to close the gender gap is more pertinent than ever today.
5. You’ll Be Breaking A Leg (And Some Stereotypes)
Several generations of women have been discouraged to pursue careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). We’re told that we cannot excel in these fields because we either need to be smarter than men to outdo them, or have contacts in the workforce to be able to join.
Imagine how many stereotypes you will shatter if you pursue your interests and prove society wrong with your critical thinking skills! You will not only get the opportunity to carve a niche for yourself but also inspire other women to stand up for themselves and choose a profession they love.
6. There Are Scholarships & Incentives For You
There has been a massive gender gap in the field of cybersecurity for all the wrong reasons. This has pushed companies and governments to come up with scholarships and incentives to attract and promote women in this male-dominated industry.
Now, if we’ve convinced you enough with reasons (and data), let’s talk about the various qualifications you need, and the courses you can take to become a cyber security specialist.
(Continue Reading Below…)
- 8 Ways In Which Companies Can Bring In Gender Diversity
- The Female Hackers Allowing Us To Work-From-Home Safely #KoolKanyaNews
- Nidhi Razdan Victim Of Phishing: 5 Online Scams You Need To Watch Out For Too
Required Qualifications For A Career In Cybersecurity
- A Bachelor’s Degree (B.Sc or B.Tech in cyber security)
- A Master’s Degree (MS in Cyber/Information Security- applicable if you are applying for jobs abroad
- A PhD (optional)
Colleges Offering Cyber Security Courses Abroad
- Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, US
- Purdue University, Indiana, US
- Abertay University, Dundee, UK
- SRH Hochschule, Berlin, Germany
- University of Winnipeg, Winnipeg, Canada
Colleges Offering Cyber Security Courses In India
- Vellore Institute of Technology: Multiple institutions across India
- IIIT Sri City, Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh
- SAGE University, Indore, Madhya Pradesh
- NIMAS, Kolkata, West Bengal
- Jaipur National University, Jaipur, Rajasthan
Skills Required To Join The Cyber Security Workforce
- A problem-solving attitude
- Ability to learn things quickly
- Enthusiasm to take up added responsibilities
- Willingness and patience to listen to case studies
- Leadership values
- Technical aptitude- coding, knowing programming language in and out, troubleshooting
Careers In Cyber Security
- Cyber Security Specialist
- Incident Responder
- Cyber Security Analyst
- Information Security Specialist/Consultant
- Network Security Engineer
- Chief Information Security Officer
- Security Architect
There is honestly no field that you cannot pursue. And whether society is welcoming or not, it shouldn’t deter you from following your dreams. If your dreams lie in protecting systems and people from cyber scams, own them and strategise your goals to reach where you’re aiming to. If you’re a cybersecurity professional reading this piece, comment below and tell us about your journey!
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