Part II: CISA Honors Women’s History by Building a Future for Women in Cyber

In our previous blog post celebrating Women’s History Month, we proudly announced why and how CISA is building a future for women in tech and cyber. We are excited to give more tips and guidance to women who wish to get into the cyber field or learn more about CISA career opportunities.  

First, it’s important to know how far women have come in the tech industry. For decades, women gradually have been gaining influence in cybersecurity, tech, and national security, while leaving their mark on innovation through the years. This Women’s History Month is the perfect time to learn about some amazing, yet little-known, contributions by women in our field.   

When it comes to computer science and Information Technology (IT), women have played a vital role, pioneering and developing some of the most essential components of modern IT. Among their many achievements include: Creating the first computer program (Ada Lovelace), inventing computing methods and devices, like the compiler (Grace Hopper), advancing human space exploration (Katherine Johnson), developing programs that influence how today's computers work (Margaret Hamilton), creating programs dedicated to studying technology's impact on social and ethical issues (Stephanie Shirley), and promoting diversity throughout IT workplaces (Megan Smith). (Source: Purdue University). 

Historically, women also have been crucial to the mission of securing our nation. The Department of Homeland Security highlights the ways that women have played integral roles in countless missions: “Long before the Department opened its doors in 2003, women were carrying out the mission to ensure a safe and secure America. In World War Two, Navy WAVES, Women Accepted for Voluntary Emergency Service, operated banks of cryptanalysis machines, also known as bombes, to decipher German code in what are now the halls of DHS headquarters.” 

While we honor these amazing contributions by women in our field, we are setting the bar even higher for the current and future generation. The call for more women in cybersecurity in today’s age is not just right, it is an urgent need. 

Women historically have had a very low representation in cybersecurity, and yet they remain critical to the mission. As our nation continues to diversify, our Federal workforce must reflect those unique backgrounds we serve.  

Since CISA was established in 2018 as the nation’s first cybersecurity agency, women have served across a spectrum of technical roles at the agency including leading a team that drafted the Blueprint for a Secure Cyber Future, planning and analysis that supports the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, supporting election security efforts, developing recommendations for protecting High Value Asset (HVA) systems across the federal government, and supporting internal diversity and inclusion programs.  

How Can Women Join CISA?  

First, please know there is no time to waste when it comes to exploring opportunities to join CISA. Because CISA is at the heart of leading the Nation’s efforts to understand and manage risk to our cyber and critical infrastructure, it is vital that talented job seekers join our mission today.   

Also, CISA is not just cyber. We are actively recruiting to fill positions across multiple career fields, including: cybersecurity, human resources, infrastructure security, risk assessment, and more.  

Kelly, a Phishing Team Chief who works with Vulnerability Management at CISA, has encouraging words for job seekers who are interested in joining the CISA mission. “You do have insights, skills, and experiences that can help in some capacity, so speak up, jump in, or apply for it. It matters not if you’re the best, only that you’re doing your best and continually striving to grow.”  

How can you connect with us? We are participating in several hiring events this year in hopes of connecting with job seekers who are eager to learn more about available opportunities.  

We are especially excited about our Women in Tech hiring events offered on March 24 and April 28 which promise to be an opportunity for women to chat virtually, in real-time, with CISA representatives about our inclusive workplace culture as well as to gain insights into CISA careers pathways for women of all backgrounds. Rest assured; women can join any our month hiring events this year!  

How to Empower the Next Generation of Cybersecurity Professionals 

Different pathways to cybersecurity careers are important to closing the gender gap and filling our Nation’s 500,000 open cybersecurity jobs. We must prepare the future workforce through STEM education and hands-on activities. 

Encourage family, friends, and the community to participate in STEM programs. These programs offer girls a glimpse into why cybersecurity is so important. A STEM-focused education can lead to scholarships and employment. Programs like the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) and CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service prepare the next generation of cyber professionals. 

Organizations and schools should encourage interactive learning. One option is for students to further their education through internships. Internships can help all types of learners by providing chances to observe and perform. It empowers women to apply their education and be confident in their abilities. 

At CISA, this Women’s History Month is an opportunity to highlight the many contributions of women in our field and beyond.  

We want to build on those contributions by discovering and promoting opportunities for women to lead, diversify, and improve CISA’s mission, as well as to join the mission to engage the younger generation of women on pathways to cybersecurity and Federal service.   

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