As the world becomes more and more reliant on technology, the field of cybersecurity has become increasingly important. Yet, the field faces a looming talent shortage that could put the health, safety and security of our nation at risk. And, cybersecurity faces the same challenge as many other STEM fields—only about 25% of cybersecurity roles are occupied by women. By committing to empowering women to pursue cyber careers, this emerging profession benefits from new and diverse ideas and approaches.
We asked several female Battelle cyber experts to share their advice to other women and girls who hope to pursue a career in cybersecurity.
Eleanor Holliday, a Battelle Research Scientist and computer engineer, has learned to apply her unique perspective and experiences to her work, which ranges from writing models to detect patterns in data to developing a web application to interface with pipeline of analysis.
When asked about the importance of women’s contributions in cyber and diversity of thought, Eleanor pointed out that what makes you different can also be your biggest advantage. “It is easy to be intimidated for being different, but you can learn to embrace the uniqueness and make it your strength,” said Eleanor.
Katie Liszewski uses her extensive knowledge to guide Battelle’s research in side-channel analysis and machine learning for trust and device authentication. Katie shared her thoughts on the rewards of a career in cyber and how to start one.
"Cyber is an exciting field to be in as its fast moving, doesn't require extensive resources or formal education, and respect is earned in cyber,” said Katie. “If you are ambitious and competent it doesn't matter what you look like or what your background is, you can make an impact and will be recognized for it."
As cyber threats continue to evolve, it is essential that the workforce tasked with defending against these threats is diverse, experienced and capable of adapting to changing circumstances.
Electrical hardware researcher, Amanda Noonan, understands the importance of increasing diversity in this workforce. As current team lead of the systems analysis group within Battelle’s Cyber Trust and Analytics division, Amanda encourages collaboration among experts from various backgrounds to ensure that the field is drawing from the widest possible pool of talent and that the solutions developed are both innovative and comprehensive.
“Currently, women make up a small portion of the cyber field. The best innovation occurs when people collaborate from diverse experiences and backgrounds, including gender,” said Amanda. “Encouraging more women to pursue a career in cyber, will help bring more talented people to the field and generate better creative solutions to complex cyber challenges.”
Battelle is committed to empowering and advancing women in this profession, and we provide resources and opportunities to help them succeed. From sponsoring a Women in STEM scholarship program, which provides financial assistance to women pursuing degrees in STEM fields to supporting and participating in organizations like the Society of Women Engineers and Women in Technology International, Battelle is dedicated to promoting women’s role in cyber and STEM. In addition, Battelle sponsors WiCyS, to network, recruit and speak with other industry leading experts.
Overall the role of women in cybersecurity and their contributions to this field are incredibly important. Battelle recognizes the value women bring to the cybersecurity workforce and actively supports and encourages women to pursue cyber careers with opportunities ranging from cyber internships to full time entry level and senior positions. By doing so, we are creating a more diverse and inclusive workforce that is better equipped to defend our nation against cyber threat.