A new partnership between IT MOOC platform Cybrary and Women in Technology (WIT), a professional organization for women in the technology field, aims to address two major challenges faced by IT organizations today: a shortage of cybersecurity professionals and a lack of women in technology.
Addressing two major issues
Demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing four times faster than the overall IT job market, and 12 times faster than the total labor market. In 2013, there were more than 200,000 national job postings for cybersecurity positions. What's more, women make up less than 11 percent of the cybersecurity workforce, according to a March 2014 report by research and analysis firm Burning Glass.
"Our mission is to provide comprehensive IT and cybersecurity training options for underserved and disadvantaged people seeking to break into cybersecurity or advance in their current jobs. This partnership is a great way to kill two birds with one stone -- to address both the cybersecurity talent shortage and address the gender gap that exists in IT fields," says CEO and founder of Cybrary Ryan Corey.
The pilot program with WIT will make Cybrary's enterprise training platform, which includes extensive security education, available at no cost to WIT members to help advance women and girls in the IT and cybersecurity industries, according to Corey.
While much of Cybrary's content is free for individual users and students, enterprise-level content is available through a tiered pricing model based on number of user licenses. Through this pilot program Cybrary will provide unlimited licenses to WIT, allowing members access to premium and executive-level content.
With Cybrary's platform, organizations such as WIT can enhance their technology and cybersecurity training initiatives by providing education at every level -- from technology insights for senior executives to hands-on experiences for students. Cybrary's training program allows for assignment and tracking from sign-up to completion, and users and their mentors receive reports and notifications to make sure trainees are progressing with the learning initiatives.
Public and private opportunities
Cybrary also offers content for organizations that require security training for industry compliance with Federal Information Security Management Act (FISMA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), Healthcare IT, Department of Defense Information Assurance Risk Management Framework, Federal IT Security Institute and more, says Corey, to ensure women taking advantage of the programs have opportunities in the public sector as well as the private.
"The available training on our platform gives anyone -- at any stage in their career, in almost every available sector -- the ability to take classes that can help advance them to the next level," Corey said, "From entry-level technical positions, advanced technical positions, management and even executive-level cybersecurity classes, WIT now has access to all of these, and we believe that this will help their members forward in their career."
Cybrary's enterprise training platform will also support a number of other collaboration efforts within WIT, including WIT's Workforce Development Committee and CyberSecurity Special Interest Group; the expansion of the Girls in Technology CyberGirls training program for the CyberPatriot High School Competition; and support of the Cornerstone initiative, which helps to bring computer literacy to refugee women, according to Phyllis Kolmus, immediate past president of WIT and deputy director, OSD Programs at AT&T.
"Starting to learn at an early age means that these already very talented women will eventually enter the workforce more highly equipped with advanced skill sets, which will distinguish them from peers," she says.
It is crucial that public and private sector organizations take steps to address the major shortage of cyber professionals, according to research from ASD Reports, and training and education of women can be a great way to address that gap. "In cybersecurity, in particular, women are a much smaller presence than in other general IT fields -- not that they make up a large percentage of workers there, either. But we're helping to make sure that number will change and grow by partnering with organizations like Cybrary so the access to learning is there," she says.