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Cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries. Society’s increased reliance on technology suggests that this growth is only going to continue. Yet, this rapidly expanding field is lacking in one major way: gender diversity. Symantec reported that women make up only 11 percent of the information security workforce. Facebook hopes to change this statistic by creating a cybersecurity camp for middle school girls.
Partnering for diversity
In partnership with San Jose State University and several other nonprofits, Facebook developed and hosted a week-long summer camp at their headquarters. About 30 teenage girls from across the country attended. The social media giant intended for the camp to generate interest in the field of cybersecurity, specifically for young women and minorities. Michael McGrew, a security engineer at Facebook, stated that the diversity of candidates in digital security fields was limited. McGrew and his team helped teach the campers about malware protection and Internet security with the hopes that some of the young women in attendance would pursue degrees in cybersecurity during their higher education. The camp also taught the girls about digital ethics, a topic which the National Cybersecurity Institute has covered extensively.
What did the camp accomplish?
The girls in attendance at Facebook’s cybersecurity camp learned cybersecurity best practices from industry professionals. They also had the privilege of getting first-hand accounts from women working in the field and were granted access to watch the Facebook security team work for a day. Several of the girls told Government Technology Magazine that the camp encouraged them to pursue a career in a field they previously assumed was exclusively for men. Vice President of the Anita Borg Institute, Elizabeth Ames, said camps like these are important for the future of diversity in the workplace. They discourage the belief that science and technology jobs are only for men. Ames went on to say, “[The camps] help to break down the stereotype early on and encourage more young women to consider the field.”
Alex Stamos, Facebook’s chief security officer, announced that Facebook was already looking to expand its cybersecurity team by about 40 percent in the next year and hoped to increase the number of females employees on the information security team. And they aren’t alone either. Companies from every industry are increasing their number of information security professionals. For more information on how to start your career in this field, visit NCI’s website now.