Networking, mentoring and skill development
Cyber security is an extremely diverse industry and as a result it can be hard to navigate. Detailed here are a number of resources for those who want to develop or are interested in inspiring others to have a career in it. This resource guide leads with resources for women and girls but we’ve compiled another that is applicable for anyone who‘s interested in cyber security, irrespective of gender.
The resources that are presented here are not endorsements and you’re encouraged to perform your own research before any engagement occurs. As some resources are only relevant for certain countries they’ve been segregated by the country they were founded in. All resource descriptions are from the resource owner’s websites and all spellings are US for consistency.
Finally, this is a work-in-progress initiative and therefore will be updated regularly. Should you have a recommendation, please do not hesitate to get in contact. Our plan is to update the resources four times a year – in March, June, September and December. If you’d like a PDF version of the resources listed here please click here.
American Association of University Women (AAUW)’s Tech Trek Camps – is advancing equity for women and girls through advocacy, education, philanthropy, and research. It’s USA’s leading voice promoting equity and education for women and girls. Since their founding in 1881, AAUW members have examined and taken positions on the fundamental issues of the day — educational, social, economic, and political.
Through hands-on problem solving and encounters with women role models in STEM, Tech Trek helps girls see their futures while having nonstop fun. Since 1998, AAUW has helped change girls’ lives through Tech Trek, an experiential summer camp backed by research and designed to make STEM exciting and accessible to girls in middle school — the age when research shows girls’ participation in these fields drops. For many girls, the weeklong camp sparks their curiosity and places them on a path toward success.
Anita Borg Institute’s Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing - co-founded by Dr. Anita Borg and Dr. Telle Whitney in 1994 and inspired by the legacy of Admiral Grace Murray Hopper, Anita Borg Institute’s Grace Hopper Celebration (GHC) of Women In Computing Conference is designed to bring the research and career interests of women in computing to the forefront.
The Anita Borg Institute – helps women grow their careers and make significant contributions to technical fields. Their programs and awards highlight the accomplishments of women technologists and recognize organizations building innovation-driven teams. Their events and communities enable women to find their peers and form relationships that result in mutual benefit.
Alta Associates’ Executive Women’s Forum (EWF) – has a goal to attract, retain and advance women in the Information Security, IT Risk Management and Privacy industries, through education, leadership development and the creation of trusted relationships. The EWF is committed to enabling women to achieve their professional goals and personal dreams. It offers a membership and holds a large annual conference.
Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in IT – is the national Center for Minorities and People with Disabilities in Information Technology that is focused on the following under-represented groups: African Americans, Native Americans, Hispanics, and People with Disabilities. The center is comprised of corporations, academic institutions, government agencies, and non-profits.
CISSE Women and Minority in Cyber Security Working Group – began in 2012 as an ACM Innovation and Technology in Computer Science Education WG and has a goal to discuss and research issues associated with the inclusion and advancement of women and minorities in cyber security.
Computing Research Association – Women (CRA-W) – has a mission to increase the success and participation of women in computing research. They provide mentoring to college students and give Scholarships for Women in Information Security (SWSIS).
Cyberpoint’s Women in Cyber Security Reception – provides hands-on technical training and access to resources and programming. Includes program for girls.
Girl Develop It (GDI) – is a non-profit organization that exists to provide affordable and judgment-free opportunities for women interested in learning web and software development. Through in-person classes and community support, Girl Develop It helps women of diverse backgrounds achieve their technology goals and build confidence in their careers and their everyday lives.
Hackbright Academy – is the leading software engineering school for women founded in San Francisco in 2012. The academy graduates more female engineers than Stanford and UC Berkeley each year.
Innovation 26×26 – is an initiative by IBM that showcases 26 innovations by 26 innovative women and aims to inspire more women to join the tech ranks. Innovation 26X26 is just a taste of what’s possible for women who choose a tech career at IBM.
Mother Coders – is a non-profit that helps women with kids on-ramp to careers in technology. They offer a tech orientation program that provides on-site childcare for moms who want to learn basic computer programming, gain a deeper understanding of the technology landscape, and network with peers and industry professionals. In doing so, they’re working to expand the tech talent pool by activating moms who can help drive economic growth and innovation.
National Institute for Women in Trades, Technology & Science (IWITTS) – helps educators nationwide close the gender gap for women and girls in male-dominated careers — such as technology, the trades and law enforcement. IWITTS also works with employers to assist them in integrating women successfully into their male-dominated workplace. In particular, IWITTS has worked extensively with law enforcement agencies.
National Cybersecurity Institute at Excelsior College’s Initiative for Women in Cybersecurity (NCI’s IWICS) – Throughout the year, NCI will launch a series of webinars, podcasts, and articles entitled Women in Cybersecurity Leadership. These will cover best practices utilized by women in cyber security fields in various areas of critical infrastructure. Each webinar will feature an influential woman leader in cyber security who’ll share who she is, what she does and how she gets it done. More information can be found here.
National Center for Women & Information Technology (NCWIT) – is located at the University of Colorado, Boulder and works to correct the imbalance of gender diversity in technology and computing because gender diversity positively correlates with a larger workforce, better innovation, and increased business performance. NCWIT equips change leaders with resources for taking action in recruiting, retaining, and advancing women from K–12 and higher education through industry and entrepreneurial careers.
New America’s Women in Cyber – provides hands-on technical training and access to resources and programming. It includes a program for girls.
Riley Guide to Minority Hiring – These are resources specifically set up to meet the needs or address the interests of various groups, such as women, persons of varied nationalities or ethnic backgrounds.
Society of Women Engineers – is a not-for-profit educational and service organization that empowers women to succeed and advance in the field of engineering, and to be recognized for their life-changing contributions as engineers and leaders.
Techwomen – empowers, connects, and supports the next generation of women leaders in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) from Africa, Central Asia, and the Middle East by providing them the access and opportunity needed to advance their careers, pursue their dreams, and inspire women and girls in their communities.
The Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu (WSC) – is a non-profit organization passionate about helping and empowering women to succeed in the cyber security field. Their primary mission is to advance women in cyber security by providing programs and partnerships that promote networking, education, mentoring, resource-sharing and opportunities.
The Center for Women in Information Technology at the University of Maryland – Baltimore County (UMBC) – was established at the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) in July 1998, dedicated to providing global leadership in achieving women’s full participation in all aspects of information technology.
Women in Cyber Security (WiCyS) – The WiCyS initiative was launched in 2013 with support from a National Science Foundation grant for a collaborative project between Tennessee Tech, University of Memphis and Jackson State Community College. Since then, with support from various industry, government and academic partners, WiCyS has become a continuing effort to recruit, retain and advance women in cyber security. It brings together women in cyber security from academia, research and industry for sharing of knowledge/experience, networking and mentoring.
Women’s Symposium for Cyber Security – has a goal to improve the pipeline into cyber security careers for women by connecting you with the resources, networking opportunities and mentoring relationships to help their members channel their talent and make their mark. It includes mentorship, networking, and hands-on learning and has a special, free, two-day summer camp for high school women.
Women in Technology (WIT) – is all about helping women so their careers leap forward. As the premier professional association for women in the technology industry, they understand the unique challenges you face and have been serving the technology community for over 20-years. No matter where you are in your professional development, or what technology-related field you’re in, our community offers a broad range of support, programs and resources to advance women in technology from the classroom to the boardroom.
Women in Technology International (WITI) – is a trade association that’s helping tech-savvy women attain their professional goals. With a global network of smart, talented women and a market reach exceeding 2 million, WITI (Women in Technology International) has established powerful strategic alliances and programs to provide connections, resources, and opportunities within a supportive environment of women committed to helping each other.
Women Who Code – is a non-profit dedicated to inspiring women to excel in technology careers. They connect amazing women with other like-minded amazing women around the globe who unite under one simple notion – the world of technology is much better with women in it.
Women Who Tech – was started seven years ago and brings together talented and renowned women who are breaking new ground in technology and using their tech savvy skills to transform the world and inspire change. Their mission is to help women pitch their start-ups, and get their start-ups funded particularly as only 7% of investor money goes to women founded start-ups.
#WomeninTechChat – started as a Twitter chat in June 2015 to provide women of color and non-binary people of color a safe space to connect and discuss issues in the tech industry that are important to them. Since then, they’ve expanded into a grassroots initiative that aims to connect women of color and non-binary people of color to career and skills-building opportunities in tech. They also have some stock photos that are free to use.
Contact Book Expert Women – is a campaign to help increase the pool of expert women for journalists to choose from. The campaign is results driven – not just talk – which means they work with journalists to secure interviews on the news.
HerSay – aims to help women raise their own profile within their chosen fields and boost the number of inspirational role models. They provide support through regular training sessions and networking events. This ranges from media training and public speaking courses through to professional photography shoots and styling advice. Women with all levels of expertise are being welcomed to join as HerSay – whether they are recognised leaders in their field or have personal stories to tell from their own life experiences.
Womens Security Society (WSS) – is a new and exciting society that will foster an inclusive networking and forum environment, bringing women together from all aspects of security. Their aim is to encourage the advancement of women working in today’s security world through the exchange of information and creation of collaborative relationships.
Women in Security Council – ASIS International – provides support and assistance to women in the security field, as well as inspire those interested in entering the profession. While this group’s benefits and programs are tailored for women, they encourage and welcome the participation of all members who are dedicated to the support of women in the security industry.
Women In International Security, (ISC)² London Chapter – Women in Security – is an exciting initiative formed by professionals of the Information Security field within the (ISC)2 London Chapter. The mission of the group is to raise the profile of women in the information security industry. To achieve this mission, the WiS group is utilizing the energy and professionalism of the chapter volunteers towards three objectives – encourage participation, facilitate networking and promote education.
Fraud Women’s Network (FWN) – has been set up to bring together women involved in all aspects of fraud prevention, detection, investigation and prosecution, to network and to share best practice, information and experience in order to help tackle the threat from fraud and organised crime head on. They aim to provide women in the anti-fraud business with networking and mentoring opportunities as well as access to education programmes.
Women in Technology (Deloitte) – The Deloitte Women in Technology Network was born in 2007 and since then has grown from strength to strength, counting over 600 members across different areas of our firm where they work in a variety of technology related roles. They also hold events for others outside of the firm.
The BCS Specialist Group – provides networking opportunities for all BCS professional women working in IT around the world. The Group’s main objective is to provide support for female IT professionals, as well as mentoring and encouraging girls / women to enter IT as a career.
WITSEC – was founded in Hungary in 2014 and has evolved from the fellowship of nine ladies. As acknowledged experts from the field of IT security, they have decided to coordinate and help girls and boys who are able and willing to work for their goals.
University Women’s Club – although it’s not a club dedicated to cyber security this organization may be useful to you. The University Women’s Club is a society club founded in 1883. As the popular gentlemen’s clubs did not accept any women as members, its creation was intended to provide an equivalent club accessible to women. By its own definition, it is a club for “graduate and professional women of varied backgrounds and interests.” The members include lawyers, scientists, writers and musicians, as well as businesswomen.
Conferences for women
The Cyber Security Gender Diversity Conference (UK) – the conference has an objective to showcase what’s available for women in cyber security, promote gender diversity in the workplace and reduce the current skills shortage. 300 attendees that include students, those interested in pursuing a career in cyber security and senior leaders come together to network, share their experiences and learn about the industry and how to advance their careers. Exhibitors come from various communities including industry, government, academia, start-ups and technology vendors.
Winja – is complete hands-on and capture the flag (CTF) technical event. It focuses on bringing women in tech together to help them explore their potential in a comfortable environment and to geek out without feeling intimidated. It’s challenge-based and simulates hacking challenges in a 2 hour window of opportunity.
The Executive Women’s Forum (EWF) Annual Conference (USA) – provides an exclusive opportunity to personally interact with more than 300 global thought leaders in the fields of Information Security, Risk Management and Privacy. During this three-day event, members collaborate on round-table exercises, incident simulations, panel discussions and working groups. Exposure to new ideas and approaches, best practice management of everyday issues and learning from observing the best and the brightest is an excellent and abundant return on investment.
This is an exclusive community designed for interactive dialog between peers for building candid and productive trusted relationships. Qualified participants include corporate, business, government and academic executives (CSO, CISO, CPO, CRO, VP, Director) and non-sales related executives from the Vendor communities. An Events Committee will review your application. Those eligible will be notified of their approval:
Eligibility is based on the following:
- Position of executive leadership.
- Provide significant influence in the advancement of information security, privacy, governance, compliance, IT audit or technology risk management.
- Recognized for accomplishments in their field of specialty.
- Commitment to active participation and information sharing.
- 10% of membership is reserved for future thought leaders.
Their conference attendees consistently rate peer-to-peer networking opportunities as one of the top reasons they attend the EWF Conference. To that end you must be a senior executive in the security, privacy, risk management, IT audit, governance, compliance, legal, technology or a business executive involved in the management of a program and involved in the purchase or recommendation of products and services to qualify for attendance. As such, sales and marketing professionals from non-sponsoring vendor companies do not qualify for attendance.
The WiCyS Conference (USA) – the WiCyS initiative was launched in 2013 with support from a National Science Foundation grant (Award #1303441, Lead PI: Dr. Ambareen Siraj, Computer Science, Tennessee Tech University) for a collaborative project between Tennessee Tech, University of Memphis and Jackson State Community College. Since then, with support from various industry, government and academic partners, WiCyS has become a continuing effort to recruit, retain and advance women in cyber security. It brings together women (students/faculty/researchers/professionals) in cyber security from academia, research and industry for sharing of knowledge/experience, networking and mentoring.
Through the WiCyS community and activities they expect to raise awareness about the importance and nature of cyber security career. They hope to generate interest among students to consider cybersecurity as a viable and promising career option. Any individual or organization interested in supporting recruiting and retention efforts for women in cyber security is encouraged to participate. Beyond the annual conference, WiCyS is a community of engagement, encouragement and support for women in cybersecurity.
Useful hashtags, publications and STEM links
- Agents of Change: Women in the Information Security Profession: The (ISC)2 Global Information Security Workforce Sub report.
- Women in Technology – April 2013: A Detailed Look Inside Freelancers’ Views on Women in Technology.