CompTIA Teams Up with Women CyberSecurity Society
On Feb. 23, CompTIA announced a partnership with the Women CyberSecurity Society (WCS�) to start an initial group of 20 women in training to pursue careers in cybersecurity. According to (ISC)2 (after whose name this Canadian outfit seems to have modeled itself), in fact, there is currently only about 1 woman (24 percent) working in the cybersecurity field for every three men (76 percent).
Thus the stated goal of the partnership, to quote from the CompTIA announcement, is "to address the dual challenges of training and certifying more cybersecurity professionals and bringing more women into the tech workforce." Laudable goals!
The Canadian Connection Could Be Potent
According to WCS� CEO Lisa Kearney, women make up only 10 percent of the cybersecurity workforce in Canada (significantly less than the global average). In addition, nearly half of women who pursue cybersecurity careers in Canada drop out of the technology workforce somewhere during the first four years they work in that field.
Hence the partnered organizations are offering an International Women in Cyber Day scholarship to provide training and certification, as well as mentoring and career (soft) skills to candidates looking to jump start (or simply find an entry point) into cybersecurity job roles. Almost 150 candidates applied for the first group of 20 scholarships, and finalists selected came from all stages in their careers.
In fact, some already work in cybersecurity or technology roles, while others are changing over from other industries to work in technology roles for a first time. It's a small start at a big imbalance, but it represents a great first step to shift the composition of the workforce closer to that for the general population.
What's On Deck, Training-Wise?
Participants in the first cohort will be in training from January through March, 2022, to earn the CompTIA Security+ credential. They're being supported using CompTIA CertMaster Learn with its integrated hands-on labs, plus the CertMaster Practice resources to help candidates prep to complete exam readiness.
Veteran cybersec lecturer and IT trainer, Rebecca Harrop, will be coordinating this pioneering group's learning efforts and activities. Along the way, participants will have access to career planning and mentorship. When they get through the program, internship opportunities will be extended to members of this group.
Ms. Kearney also adds "Over the next several months, we will be working one on one with each scholarship recipient to ensure they are positioned to succeed and advance their careers in cybersecurity."
I sincerely hope this is just a first, small step toward providing similar offerings to additional cohorts of women interested in cybersecurity jobs. In fact, I'd like to see this program go into "cookie-cutter" mode across Canada, and into other countries. Cybersecurity offers meaningful, well-paid work with excellent opportunities for lifetime employment at a living wage.
Surely, CompTIA could see its way to launching similar efforts (and partnerships) throughout North America, and onto other continents. Here's hoping they're thinking big, and planning to go completely global. This is a fantastic effort and could provide great value wherever it might pop up next. Great stuff!