Cybersecurity is a growing field that presents many opportunities for those who want to pursue a career in it. Like many fields that are technologically oriented, cybersecurity positions are heavily dominated by men. Last week Def Con 29 took place both physically in Las Vegas, Nevada and in virtual space. Def Con is one of the largest hacker conventions and one of the most notable. The convention is a space where security professionals, government employees, lawyers, hackers and many more can come together and immerse themselves in what is currently occurring in the cybersecurity space. This year OneLogin hosted a discussion panel on Women in Cybersecurity. Panel members included:
- Moderator: Amanda Keammerer – CEO @ Javilud
- Kathy Ahuja – Vice President, Global Compliance and Information Technology @ OneLogin
- Annalise Buonya – High School Hacker
- Niamh Vianney Muldoon – Global Data Protection Officer and EMEA Trust and Security Leader @ OneLogin
- Vanessa Pegueros – Chief Trust and Security Officer @ OneLogin
- Rachel Ward – Security Technical Program Manager @ OneLogin
These women came together to discuss both the challenges women face getting both pursuing a career in cybersecurity and becoming successful in their chosen career path. They discussed topics such as:
- How did you get engaged in the field of cybersecurity?
- How can we ensure that women feel safe in male dominated fields such as cybersecurity?
- Where do you see the future of women in cybersecurity?
Three of the panelists had been in the cybersecurity industry for one to two decades, one was closer to the beginning of her career and one was still in highschool. Their answers painted a picture of where we once were, where we currently are and where we could be.
Since cybersecurity is still a growing field, none of them got a degree in cybersecurity. Their career paths all started out very differently. One came from the gaming world, others from the development or engineering side and one was an IT analyst. Every one of them has had to work hard to teach themselves about cybersecurity and, in fact, stated that if you weren’t a strong self-learner or didn’t enjoy being a lifelong learner, then cybersecurity is not a field for you since what you learned a couple of years ago will be obsolete today.
Unfortunately, the field is still heavily dominated by men, and it is still difficult for many women to be respected and heard within the space. But there are more companies that have created a culture of inclusion and recognize that having a diverse workforce can give them new perspectives and make them stronger. Most people want to work in an environment where they feel supported and valued, and they will often choose a company that has an inclusive culture over one that offers them a higher salary.
There is a ton of opportunity out there for women to enter the cybersecurity field. Check out their discussion panel to learn more about their experience in the field and what they recommend you do if you are interested in following a cybersecurity career path.