Women in Cyber – My Story
When my grad school professor encrypted the final programming exam, each class member had to dig into their collection of code breaking tools in order to complete the exam inside the 24 hour limit.
That was back in the 1980s and was the defining moment that determined my future in cybersecurity. I was hooked! I went on to choose a thesis topic in hardware encryption, and was hired as an analyst for a small and growing computer security group at the Boeing company.
We were Security when Security wasn't cool.
I went on to manage teams of researchers in cybersecurity, including distributed computing and networked systems, writing research reports for consulting clients on topics like “hacktivism” and intrusion detection. Ultimately I managed organizations for IT Risk Management and Corporate Information Security for companies like AT&T Wireless, Microsoft, and Russell Investments. It is a career path that found me, at times carried me along in its own momentum, sometimes pounded me, and ultimately taught me to advocate for it, and to help others find purpose and opportunity in it.
There is an alarm bell to sound about this field. According to reports from AAUW women have made gains in every STEM field, excepting computing. Women have dropped from a high of 35% in all computing jobs in 1990 to only 23% in 2015. The problems of gender bias affecting opportunities, pay inequities, and limited mentorship opportunities are arguably less prevalent today than they were in decades prior. Diversity is critical to every STEM field and computing is no exception.
Everything we do at W Risk Group is driven by my personal experience as a woman in computing and by my firm belief that the opportunities available to women AND men in this field should be evenly encouraged and supported, without bias, throughout our educational and hiring processes. We offer programs for women in tech through our MOJOMaker online group coaching experience, and onsite intensives to help cybersecurity professionals raise their “resilience quotient” in a field that can be emotionally as well as technically demanding. Our executive search and placement services are grounded in processes that “fit” the right professional with the right position and company. We combine deep expertise in organizational processes, cybersecurity, and recruiting to make every placement one that serves both the hiring firm and the professional.
It is part of our company DNA to be committed to raising up a generation of cyber-savvy youth who can seize the opportunities for growth and contribution in the field of computing. Because computing and cybersecurity are purposeful, creative, and fulfilling career fields, not to mention well-compensated, we support programs that send the message at all levels of the educational spectrum: “You can do this.”