Currently, the gender gap in the field of cybersecurity is a concern we must address to address rapidly-evolving threats and the overburdened IT sector. Even Microsoft, one of the largest tech companies in the world, recognizes the shortage of women in cybersecurity. A recent survey they commissioned found that women represented only one-fourth of this field's global workforce. This underrepresentation is driven by gender bias, unequal pay and support, and self-limiting beliefs.
Now, while the cybersecurity industry is fast changing to be more welcoming, women unafraid to make their mark hold the key to ushering in a more inclusive and empowered cybersecurity landscape. After all, women can undeniably bring diverse perspectives that promote rapid innovation and profitability. If you're a woman in IT who's interested in helping reshape the cybersecurity playing ground, here are five cybersecurity careers you can consider to kickstart your women in the tech era:
1. Network Architect
Women with a technical background in computer networking can consider becoming network architects. Network architects manage every aspect of building a computer network, from designing security principles to maintaining physical parts. As they create development roadmaps and oversee budgets, they also take charge of daily operations and upgrades. In this capacity, network architects are in charge of laying the foundation of a cyber secure organization.
Women seeking information about this career should know that network architects must have a firm grasp of hardware and software technology. They should have relevant IT certifications and computer science or information systems degrees. With a median salary of $109,000 annually, this is a top-paying cybersecurity career that women should consider.
2. Cybersecurity Engineer
As cybersecurity engineers, women have the opportunity to make a difference for organizations with sensitive data. Cybersecurity engineers build IT architectures and protect them from cyberattacks through security systems.
You'll need to think critically about security issues to be a good fit for this job. Women wanting to enter this field need to display proactive thinking, besides a degree in computer engineering and relevant certifications in vulnerability detection. This is a lucrative cybersecurity career for women with an average salary of $98,000 annually.
3. Penetration Tester
With the rise of cybersecurity threats, penetration testers are in high demand, and women are well-positioned to fill these roles. Penetration testers are in charge of companies' securing any cybersecurity vulnerabilities. They look for flaws and exploit them while documenting the process to design better security solutions. Unlike white hat hackers, they safeguard a security system without causing damage.
Penetration testers are mainstays in government agencies and multinational corporations. They need to have certifications in CompTIA Security+ and programming knowledge like Python. Because cybersecurity trends change quickly, this career is perfect for women looking for a fast-paced work environment. It even pays well at $112,000 a year.
4. White Hat Hacker
While black hat hackers are the cybercriminals that organizations protect their data from, white hat hackers are in-demand in multiple industries. Also known as ethical hackers, these professionals find gaps in cybersecurity systems before the actual hackers get to them. This job is ideal for women who want to work in cybersecurity as it gives them hands-on experience with threats like phishing and human-engineered attacks.
The average salary of white hat hackers is $80,000. To start a career as one, you must earn a degree in information security and certifications in Python and Network Mapper. With data security on the rise, more opportunities for women in this career will be available in the next few years.
Women who enjoy solving puzzles and codes can find a fulfilling career as a cryptographer. Cryptographers are responsible for implementing encryption systems to convert messages into code. They use the mathematical principles of cryptography to secure sensitive data for financial institutions and government agencies that rely on data transmission.
To become a cryptographer, you need a cybersecurity degree or mathematics degree. With an average salary of $112,500 per year, this is an excellent opportunity for women looking for professional growth in tech.
Studies show that women in the tech industry constitute only 28% of professionals in the sector worldwide and just 30% in Sub-Saharan Africa.
Women may currently be a minority in the cybersecurity industry, but that doesn't have to be the status quo. Breaking into tech as a cybersecurity professional is a goal women should aspire to, and there is no shortage of opportunities to kickstart your career in this industry.
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------This was written by Guest Writer, Jackie Brylle. She is a writer who has been creating content for over a decade. Aside from writing about diversity, female empowerment, and the professional landscape. Jackie enjoys writing poetry in her free time.