• November 6, 2020

Be a Cybersecurity Career Advocate

Be a Cybersecurity Career Advocate

Be a Cybersecurity Career Advocate 624 351 Vantage Technology Consulting Group

National Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week (November 9-14, 2020) is a time to help elevate and expand the conversation about the wide range of cybersecurity job opportunities and career pathways.

Last week I wrote about exploring careers in the multidisciplinary field of cybersecurity. This week I’ll share some ideas for offering encouragement and guidance to anyone seeking to join this profession. If you’re already an established infosec practitioner, please take this opportunity to explore ways that you can give back as a mentor, coach, sponsor, champion, advocate, and ally to help build a more inclusive cybersecurity community.

Here are 12 ways you can join me as a cybersecurity career advocate this week and beyond. (This list is adapted from the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) checklist, “A Dozen Ways You Can Become a Cybersecurity Career Advocate.”) 

1. Stay informed about careers in cybersecurity

Read articles and books or visit one of the many online resources that discuss topics around cybersecurity. Some resources include CyberSeek, the Cybersecurity Canon, and CISO Tuesdays.

2. Get involved in annual awareness campaigns

You can offer support individually or on behalf of an organization for Cybersecurity Awareness Month every October and National Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week in November.

3. Spread the word

Chat with friends, neighbors, and co-workers about participating in National Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week. For parents, encourage your children’s school teachers, administrators, and parent-teacher associations to incorporate cybersecurity career information into their classroom or after-school activities.

4. Contribute to the conversation and leverage your network

Share your cybersecurity origin story with a social media post (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, or personal blog). Encourage your peers by tagging them to share their own infosec journeys and success stories, too!

5. Share frequently on social media

Use #CyberCareerWeek or #MyCyberJob on Twitter and LinkedIn. Don’t forget to join @staysafeonline and @NISTcyber for a #CyberCareerChat on Twitter (Monday, November 9 at 2 pm ET).

6. Contact your elected officials

Ask federal, state, and local elected officials to share information on the importance of growing and sustaining the cybersecurity workforce. Find your representatives at https://www.usa.gov/elected-officials.

7. Donate your time and expertise

Offer support to local, regional, national, or global cybersecurity education organizations or advocacy groups of your choice. Some options include Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS), International Consortium of Minority Cybersecurity Professionals (ICMCP), Mental Health Hackers, and the Diana Initiative.

8. Support local colleges and universities

Explore cybersecurity-related degree and certificate programs available at community colleges and universities near you. Some campuses like Virginia Tech and Temple University also offer Capture the Flag competitions or security summits that may need volunteers from time to time.

9. Notify the media

Write news articles or op-eds for newspapers and inform local media broadcasters of National Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week events in the community.

10. Sponsor a student or teacher

Offer one-time or ongoing sponsorships to help those early in their careers gain valuable experience through professional development and training opportunities.

11. Be a role model or mentor

Think about the people in your life who have helped throughout your career and decide how you can give back to the community now. You could offer to be a mentor or coach to someone in the broader community, help sponsor or champion someone in your department or organization, or be an ally and advocate for a peer or direct report who is trying to move into a management or leadership role.

12. “Demystify” cybersecurity

Help build awareness around the many career options within the field of cybersecurity and the numerous pathways to enter the cybersecurity career field. This is a good opportunity to share examples of non-technical roles and the need for people with diverse backgrounds and skills

I encourage those of you in the infosec community to join me as a cybersecurity career advocate. You could be the inspiration or champion someone’s been waiting for! Please reach out to me directly Twitter or email if you’d like to discuss cybersecurity career options or if I can help connect you with members in this community.

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) promotes National Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week every November. Use the NICE Toolkit to help promote this annual week-long campaign with your network. Refer to the NICE Framework to establish a taxonomy and common lexicon that describe cybersecurity work and workers.

This post was authored by Strategic Consultant Valerie Vogel, who advises clients on information security program education and awareness initiatives. Connect with Valerie to discuss information security solutions.