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International Women's Day: We hear from women working in cyber security

Laura Barnes
International Women's Day: We hear from women working in cyber security

Today (March 8th) is International Women’s Day, and to mark the occasion, tech firms have spoken to publications, posted blogs and taken to social media to celebrate the inspirational work women are doing around the world.

While increased awareness to inspire women to consider careers in tech has been a focus for the industry for a while now, there remains much work to be done.

Security firm Symantec got in touch with PCR to share the fact that only 10 per cent of IT security roles are filled by female workers.

The firm believes that a diverse workforce is critical and has committed to increasing the diversity of its workforce by 15 per cent by 2020.

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An important element in realising this goal is encouraging more women and girls to consider a career in cyber security.

Here we hear from two female execs at Symantec who talk about their experiences working in a tech company and why more girls should be encouraged to take up STEM careers.

Sian John, chief strategist for EMEA at Symantec:
"There's great potential for females looking to launch a career in the cyber security industry. I joined Symantec in 2005, after a senior consultancy role with CyberTrust, and it's safe to say that no two days have been the same since.

“My role at Symantec includes providing guidance around the world's latest security threats, breaches and issues to our customers and the UK and European media. I also speak regularly at industry events providing expert insights into the industry as a whole.

"My experience ranges from working as a security architect, an independent security consultant and to project execution at Houses of Parliament and Reuters.

“I've evolved my skill sets since day one of my career in the cybersecurity industry. Although women are underrepresented in the industry, there are many talented female cyber security professionals out there waiting to be found. And International Women's Day is the perfect time to highlight our broad diversity of talents."

Unfortunately some of these challenges are cultural and young girls are often 'turned off' by STEM careers due to their preconceptions of what defines a career in STEM. What's clear is that more needs to be done to educate young women about the variety of STEM careers available now that technology (and science) are becoming increasingly mainstream.”

Orla Cox, director of security response at Symantec:
"I chose a career in cybersecurity as I wanted a challenge, and knowing I could help make a difference I pursued my keen interest in the industry. Globally, as cyber security threats become more serious by the day, more companies are waking up to realise that they need to invest in IT security. This of course includes recruiting top talent to ensure their business runs as effectively as possible. At the moment, a particularly in-demand job in the sector is the role of security analyst.

"If you're the type that wants a career outside of the norm, and with no week the same as the last, a career in cyber security might be just right. With only seven per cent of European IT security roles filled by females, we need to focus on closing the gender gap and recruiting more skilled and intelligent women in the sector."

Find out more about International Women's Day at www.internationalwomensday.com.

Tags: Symantec, international women's day, STEM

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