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Educating the Next Generation of Cybersecurity Professionals

As part of its mission, Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) strives to connect students and employers, and help students develop their skills. 

Women who hope to transition into or enter a career in cybersecurity can take advantage of academic programs offered by many colleges and universities. Many community colleges now offer two-year programs or certificates in cybersecurity. This is usually a very affordable option. Some colleges even offer grants for women who are pursuing cybersecurity degrees. 

As a former community college instructor who now teaches many students in two-year programs, I appreciate the benefits of a community college degree. Classes are often smaller and very focused on student learning. Students have a chance to work very closely with instructors and benefit from the extra attention.  

In addition to two-year degrees, many community colleges also offer certificates in cybersecurity, where students take a smaller number of classes in the area of networking and security. 

Prepping for success

Many colleges also offer classes that prepare students for certification exams. Industry certifications like the CompTIA Security+ and Network+, and EC Council’s Certified Ethical Hacker certification are key requirements for many cybersecurity jobs. 

Taking an exam prep class not only gives students a good base of cybersecurity knowledge but also helps them develop test-taking skills. In addition, these classes offer opportunities for hands-on lab experience. 

While in college, students can also participate in numerous activities available only to students. Student organizations like cybersecurity clubs, WiCyS student chapters, and others can help students develop their knowledge of the field.  

Another option is to join a competition team for Capture the Flag competitions. In these contests, students can test their cybersecurity skills against professional teams in order to gain hands-on knowledge and practice newly acquired skills. 

Students also can take advantage of mentoring opportunities from their professors and other professionals. WiCyS members who are educators play an important role in preparing our students for careers in cybersecurity. Working with professors on special projects in and outside of class is another way students can apply their passion for cybersecurity. 

Cybersecurity is a fascinating field that encompasses so many areas of knowledge and practice. I am happy to be part of WiCyS, and I hope to continue to serve the organization and the students in my program to increase the number of women entering the cybersecurity field.

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