Monday, January 18th is Martin Luther King Day, a federal holiday that is observed the third Monday of January in recognition of his life’s work. Dr. King once said “The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character – that is the goal of true education.” Since he left us we have made great strides in equality and education and, as a nation, we are so much the better for it.
Unfortunately that equality has not come in all arenas. For example, in cybersecurity there is a glaring paucity of women and minorities in the workplace. Women make up nearly 50% of the national workforce, yet in IT positions they are represented by only 26%, and in cybersecurity positions, only 11-13%. The figures for minorities are even worse. A panel presentation at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) revealed that African-Americans represented only 8.3% of IT workforce and an less than 7% of the cybersecurity workforce. Chabrow (2011) reinforces that statistic and notes that “About 7 percent of those categorized as information security analysts are African Americans”.
These low numbers of women and minorities in the IT and cybersecurity sectors are causing concern in ever widening circles. At a time when there is a huge deficit in skilled cyber workers, every effort should be made to recruit, train, and educate anyone and everyone that has the potential to be a cyber warrior. Recently, Congresswoman Jackson Lee suggested that the cyber worker shortage could, in part, be filled by people of color. she said “There exists an opportunity to address both the cybersecurity workforce shortage and the underrepresentation of minority groups in the technology industry.”
On this anniversary of Dr. King’s birth, let us renew our efforts to make all areas of education and jobs, especially in the cyber workforce, open to one and all. The keyboard on which the fingers of a skilled cyber specialist rest will not recognize what gender or racial background they belong to, only that they are skilled in what they do.
Calling all women and ethnicities!!!!…the world of cybersecurity needs YOU!…This career field is growing in leaps and bounds…be part of the future and receive you education in cybersecurity from Excelsior College. We offer Bachelors, Masters and certificates in all aspects of cybersecurity.