Intelligent CXO Issue 19 - Page 32

FEATURE programmer looks like , Girls Who Code holds summer , college and career programmes as well as free afterschool clubs to provide a supportive environment to help members build on their coding skills and complete projects . Since 2012 its programmes have served 500,000 individuals across the US and around the world .
The organisation believes it can close the gender gap in new entry-level tech jobs by 2030 and half of the girls it has served come from historically underrepresented groups . This includes girls who are Black , Latinx and from lowincome households .
THERE ’ S AN EXPRESSION THAT ‘ YOU CAN ’ T BE , WHAT YOU CAN ’ T SEE ’ MEANING THAT YOU CAN ’ T FOLLOW IN SOMEONE ’ S FOOTPATH IF YOU ARE BLISSFULLY UNAWARE OF THEIR CAREER TRAJECTORY .
We have all heard jokes about how the cybersecurity industry – and IT in general – is full of comic book and science fiction geeks . But the reality is the cybersecurity field is much broader than most people give it credit for .
It ’ s true you need talented technicians to operate your cybersecurity team but the industry also needs gifted communicators who can explain the risks we all face and the prospective damage they can create .
There are many people employed in cybersecurity who did not previously see themselves working in that sector . Now they have successful careers and very lucrative ones too .
Girls Who Code
This is where organisations such as Girls Who Code have a key role to play . It ’ s important to point out that the girls , women and nonbinary individuals the organisation helps are not necessarily going to end up in the cybersecurity sector but they are extremely likely to pursue an IT career .
With a mission to close the gender gap in technology and change the image of what a
Perhaps the most telling statistic is that its alumni are choosing to major in computer science , or related fields , at a rate seven times the national average .
Other organisations
Their work is backed up by organisations such as the Girl Scouts of the USA issuing cybersecurity and STEM badges and the United States National Security Agency running its GenCyber programme to spark interest in cybersecurity in young people .
This involves running summer camps to equip young students with the skills they need to better prepare for a career in the fast-changing field of cybersecurity . And to ensure a level playing field , GenCyber camps are open to all student and teacher participants for free .
Replacing alienation
There ’ s an expression that ‘ you can ’ t be , what you can ’ t see ’ meaning that you can ’ t follow in someone ’ s footpath if you are blissfully unaware of their career trajectory .
This is undoubtedly true and underlines the need for more , strong female role models .
The current dearth of these , means many of the young women starting their careers are themselves opting out of a technical career before they even begin .
If those women currently filling C-level positions in the IT and cybersecurity sectors , can enhance their visibility and inspire the next generation they can guarantee that the future of the industry is indeed female . x
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