Finding a great job in a competitive field like IT security can be difficult, and even more so for a female IT professional. IT is a male-dominated field in which women are underrepresented: the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium [(ISC)2] and the consulting firm of Frost & Sullivan released a report in which they revealed that women represent just 11% of the IT security workforce. This is far below other professions where male and female representation is nearly equal.
Although the report did not provide an in-depth discussion as to the cause for the wide gender gap in the IT security field, it did point out the importance of hiring more women. The results of the report show that women prioritize maintaining a wide variety of skills, such as communication skills and a broad understanding of the security field as a whole, which is important to the IT industry. Female participants reported these skills as being just as important as technical skills, while the male participants identified technical skills alone as the most important for an IT professional to have. It would then seem logical that a balance of male and female IT professionals would benefit a company.
IT Security: A Fast-Growing Field
Both male and female IT security professionals need the proper education to enter the field. With the increasing reliance on technology, jobs involving various applications of information technology have become some of the best-paid and fastest-growing careers available today. Information security analyst is one example of a thriving career and according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, in 2014, information security analysts received a median annual pay of $88,890 which is much higher than the national average. The Bureau also predicts that between 2012 and 2022, information security analyst jobs are expected to increase 37%, which is noted to be “much faster than average.”
In particular, the increasing number of cyber attacks has made the protection of data paramount, and created a growing need for trained information security analysts. While many information security analysts are only required to have a relevant bachelor’s degree, they can increase their value to prospective or current employers by obtaining an Information Assurance Master's degree online. This degree can provide IT security analysts with skills that employers will highly value, such as the ability to protect the confidentiality, security, availability, and integrity of data during all stages of storage, processing, and transmission. Additionally, the program will prepare students to take industry certifications such as the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP), and will even waive one year of the work experience requirement necessary to sit for such exams.
Top 4 IT Security Companies To Close The Gender Gap
While the gender gap is certainly shocking, experts agree that change is both necessary and on the way, and encourage women who are interested in IT security work not to be deterred by the current dearth of female techs. Female IT security professionals are looking for many of the same things in a workplace as the men they’ll work with: a company that’s growing, is a real competitor in the IT security market, and can provide an interesting, well-paying job. With these qualities in mind, here’s a list of the top 4 IT security companies to close the gender gap.
FireEye was named one of Cybersecurity Ventures’ top cybersecurity companies to watch in 2015. FireEye specializes in advanced threat protection, thus providing exciting opportunities for professionals who are interested in using highly sophisticated programs to stop cyber attacks in real time.
- AlienVault Unified Security Management
AlienVault’s top priority is threat detection and response, and describes itself as an “authoritative crowd-sourced threat exchange.” IT professionals who are more analytical will enjoy sifting through and analyzing the data that’s submitted by over 8,000 members in more than 140 countries on a daily basis.
Norse operates in the live attack intelligence sector, and supplies organizations with unique Internet and darknet information that allows them to block attacks that might otherwise be missed. For IT security professionals who are interested in thinking and working outside the box – Norse prides itself on utilizing intelligence tools that aren’t necessarily traditional – should look for employment with this company.
- Easy Solutions
IT professionals who are focused on protecting people from electronic fraud will be interested in Easy Solutions, an IT security company whose products include anti-phishing, secure browsing, multi-factor authentication, and transaction anomaly detection.
Ultimately, there are great options for men and women who are interested in working at a top IT security company. Women with a professional interest in technology should seriously consider information assurance careers. There is a particular need for professionals with a specialization in areas such as cybersecurity, and those who choose to pursue an education in this area will increase their skills and, in turn, their competitiveness in the job market.
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