Microsoft Philanthropies collaborates with WiCyS to help close the cybersecurity skills gap

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As cyberthreats continue to expand and progress worldwide, the need for qualified cybersecurity professionals is increasing. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will be open by 2025, a 350% increase over eight years (https://cybersecurityventures.com/jobs/). Microsoft Philanthropies is expanding its cybersecurity skills for jobs campaign to 23 countries and partnering with Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) to build a cybersecurity workforce that is not just larger but also more diverse.

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While WiCyS works to ensure equity in the gender imbalanced cybersecurity workforce, the student chapter initiative creates a community on campuses so that women are retained in their field of study, grow their network, and have a reliable gateway for future advancement opportunities.

As cyberthreats continue to expand and progress worldwide, the need for qualified cybersecurity professionals is increasing. Cybersecurity Ventures predicts 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs will be open by 2025, a 350% increase over eight years (https://cybersecurityventures.com/jobs/). Microsoft Philanthropies is expanding its cybersecurity skills for jobs campaign to 23 countries and partnering with Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) to build a cybersecurity workforce that is not just larger but also more diverse.

The expansion will include: Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom.

The countries were chosen because of an elevated cyberthreat risk, gap in the workforce and lack of diversity. One of the traditionally excluded populations Microsoft wants to provide opportunities for are women, who are significantly underrepresented. In the countries where Microsoft expanded its cybersecurity skilling campaign, only 17% of the cybersecurity workforce are female. Microsoft is working to understand the skills gap, offering free training, helping train more teachers, and providing more support to diverse and underserved job seekers, which is where WiCyS will help.

WiCyS is working to expand its student chapters in the 23 countries by promoting the retention and advancement of women in cybersecurity. WiCyS has over 5,700 members worldwide, including several in those countries Microsoft is trying to engage. WiCyS also has over 160 student chapters, largely in the U.S.

WiCyS student chapters receive funding, access to resources and conferences as well as networking opportunities for both students and faculty advisors. The group of women, men, allies, and advocates meets monthly to participate in CTFs, hackathons, engage in cyber trivia, and learn new technical skillsets. Other events include hosting resume workshops, mock interviews, career development panels, speed networking events and more.

“Thanks to this collaboration, WiCyS seeks to expand our global cyber sisterhood far and wide,” said Lynn Dohm, WiCyS executive director. “While WiCyS works to ensure equity in the gender imbalanced cybersecurity workforce, the student chapter initiative creates a community on campuses so that women are retained in their field of study, grow their network, and have a reliable gateway for future advancement opportunities.”

For more information on the Microsoft Philanthropies Global Student Chapter Initiative, visit http://www.wicys.org/initiatives/wicys-global-student-chapter-initiative-made-possible-by-microsoft-philanthropies/

About WiCyS:
Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) is a nonprofit organization with international reach dedicated to the recruitment, retention and advancement of women in cybersecurity. Founded by Dr. Ambareen Siraj from Tennessee Tech University through a National Science Foundation grant in 2013, WiCyS offers opportunities, trainings, events, and resources for its members. Strategic partners include Tier 1: Amazon Web Services, Bloomberg, Carnegie Mellon University – Software Engineering Institute, Cisco, Fortinet, Google, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Meta, Microsoft, Optum, Sandia National Laboratories, SentinelOne. Tier 2: Abbvie, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Linkedin, McKesson, Navy Federal Credit Union, Nike, Wayfair, Workday. To partner, visit https://www.wicys.org/support/strategic-partnerships/.

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Lynn Dohm
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