NewsMarch 23, 2017 @ 8:30 AM

WiCyS 2017 Addresses Skills, Gender Gap in Cybersecurity Industry

The cybersecurity skills gap continues to grow, despite recent efforts to drive change. With Frost & Sullivan estimating 1.8 million open and unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2022, the skills gap is global problem that simply cannot be ignored. What’s more worrisome is the fact that representation of women in the cybersecurity profession remains alarming low at 11 percent.

In response to both the skills gap and the gender gap, it is imperative that industry, government and academia band together to build awareness among people of all ages, whether K-12, college, university or beyond. One of the greatest opportunities to see such collaboration in action is at the upcoming Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) Conference 2017.

More About WiCyS

Launched in 2013 with help from a National Science Foundation grant, WiCyS aims to recruit, retain and advance women in cybersecurity. With support from various industry, government and academic partners — including IBM — WiCyS brings together women in cybersecurity from academia, research and industry for the sharing of knowledge and experience, networking and mentoring.

Through the WiCyS community, organizers and partners of the event aim to raise awareness about the importance and nature of careers in cybersecurity. The organization hopes to generate interest among students of all ages to consider cybersecurity as a viable and promising career option.

This Year’s Conference

Running March 30 to April 1, 2017, in Tucson, Arizona, this annual conference provides a unique opportunity for women with a common interest to meet other security professionals and enthusiasts. The program includes workshops, networking socials, lightning talks, panels, a poster competition, career fair, and several highly regarded keynote and distinguished speakers.

One such keynote will be presented by Wendi Whitmore. In her talk, Make Your Own Luck: Key Strategies for Building Your Own Career,” Wendi will share some of her experiences, from being a special agent at the U.S. Air Force Office of Special Investigations to her current role as Global Lead, IBM X-Force Security Services.

If you are attending WiCyS 2017, be sure to visit me and my IBM colleagues at our career fair booth, where we will be happy to answer your questions about studying and working in the exciting field of cybersecurity.

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Heather Ricciuto

Security Academic Initiative Leader, IBM

Heather Ricciuto is Global Leader of IBM Security’s Academic Initiative, partnering with educational and research institutions around the globe to develop top cybersecurity talent and close the skills gap. Her passions include workforce diversity, the advancement of women, volunteering and continuous learning. Heather is active in several initiatives involving the recruitment, retention and advancement of women at IBM. These include developing and delivering cyber camps for girls in grades 6 to 8, volunteering at IBM EX.I.T.E. camps and leading a recruiting committee for Women in Security Excelling (WISE) at IBM.