Children are often asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” For the majority of individuals, professions such as teacher, nurse, pilot or astronaut were popular responses. However, for generation alpha, these responses have shifted to viral YouTube sensations or TikTok content creators due to today’s popularity of social media apps. So what does this mean for low visibility jobs like cybersecurity?

There are countless jobs that are necessary for the safety and stability of our everyday lives, and cybersecurity is one of them. However, due to the low profile nature of the cybersecurity industry, young professionals are often unaware of the existence of such jobs and therefore do not consider them as a potential career path. In fact, according to current estimates, the cyber-workforce gap totals nearly 4 million globally, meaning there is a significant opportunity for young professionals to be hired for cybersecurity roles.

Further, of the cybersecurity roles that are currently filled, women held 25% of cybersecurity jobs globally in 2022, and this number is predicted to only reach 30% by 2025. Oftentimes for women hoping to work in a in male dominated industry, they experience feelings of discouragement or gender disparity when considering their career. However, women possess many of the soft skills needed in the cybersecurity industry like active listening, attention to detail, collaboration, critical thing and more.

As in most industries, there is no singular path to starting a career in cybersecurity, and someone does not necessarily have to study in a technology related field to break into the industry. While technical roles such as threat hunters, analysts and network engineers are usually top of mind, there are roles in sales, support, training, marketing and many more that are necessary for the stability of the industry. If these business functions were to go unfilled, it would offset the necessary balance of the industry, as it cannot solely succeed on highly technical roles.

When asked for advice about how to break into the industry and where to begin, due diligence is a necessary first step. Research the role and uncover if there are required certifications. Network as much as possible to make connections with those already in the industry by joining professional groups and communities.

This International Women’s Day, women currently in cybersecurity should be a guide and mentor for those entering the profession. This will not only lead them towards a career path with upward growth potential that is in dire need of their skills, but will also help retain them in the industry and develop their expertise.