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Women Breaking into the Cybersecurity Industry Regardless of Background

Cybersecurity can be a pathway to success in business. The opportunities for women to obtain a high-paying self-gratifying position is boundless. It is not necessary to have a vast background in IT or Engineering to begin your future in one of the fastest-growing industries of our time. By 2023, the cybersecurity market size is expected to grow to over 248 billion dollars. 

To understand where women can apply their experience and skills, let’s look at some of the positions that can be obtained without cybersecurity degrees.

Sales

Software companies need Sales Representatives to sell to businesses and government agencies. Responsibilities include:

  • Identify prospective customers by following leads and attending conferences and trade shows
  • Contacting new and existing customers to discuss their needs
  • Emphasize the software features that will meet their needs and discuss the capabilities and limitations
  • Negotiate prices and terms of sales and service agreements
  • Collaborate with colleagues to exchange selling and marketing strategies
  • Prepare sales contracts and submit orders for processing
  • Follow up with customers to verify satisfaction of the software and to answer questions

Sales reps who lack the technical experience, team with a Sales Engineer who attends the sales presentation by video conference to explain the product and answer specific questions or concerns about the software. The Sales Rep spends their time maintaining accounts while the Sales Engineer focuses on the technical issues and questions.

Some companies only require a high school education if you have a proven background in sales and are willing to train their Reps on the specifics of the software. Most companies that sell technical software typically require a bachelor’s degree. New employees will be trained by listening to sales calls or visiting customers on-site under the supervision of a Sales Manager or Sales Engineer. As you gain more experience with the product and existing customers, you earn more responsibilities and eventually earn your own territory. 

If your past work history includes Sales, Customer Service, Interpersonal skills and you are self-confident and quick to learn, then this would be a great avenue to explore.

Information Security Associate

This position provides administrative support to a compliance group team while developing the skill set necessary to support cybersecurity-related initiatives as required. Responsibilities include:

  • Provide administrative support as assigned to facilitate the compliance group team workflow, including initiating vendor due diligence questionnaires and following up with vendors and clients to see questionnaires through to completion.
  • Participate in drafting and updating policies, procedures, and standards
  • Correspond directly with vendors, clients, and staff via email and telephone to provide status updates, basic web support troubleshooting, and problem resolution as required
  • Assist in preparing reports, memos, and other documents
  • Develop familiarity with certain information security frameworks
  • Assist in drafting vendor risk baseline reports

If you have a degree in Information Assurance or Computer Science with some experience in vendor management, audit, computer science, information security risk, network architecture, firewalls, intrusion detection systems, VPN, internet filtering, antivirus technology, application security, and secure email gateways concepts with strong oral and written communication skills, then this position would be an avenue to explore. 

Technical Writer

As a Technical Writer, you will work with engineers and Account Managers to develop documentation and support information. Technical Writers responsibilities include: developing accurate documentation within a timeframe from which prospects and customers derive real value. Writers should possess the technical aptitude needed to understand a  customer’s environments and the value that software products provide.   

Technical Writing to Support Proposals, Technical Support, and Internal Process Documents

  • Meeting Minutes for Program and Contract Meetings
  • Access Paperwork for Government Contracts
  • Bachelor’s Degree with 0-2 years of experience
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Able to work independently and function effectively as a member of a team
  • Adept at researching and authoring responsive, persuasive, and competitive proposal sections
  • Proven ability to write about complex subject matter targeting a non-expert audience
  • Excellent time management and organization skills
  • Adept at handling multiple simultaneous projects with strict deadlines
  • Ability to work effectively with a diverse range of people who possess a variety of skills, experience, and personalities

If you have experience with planning and writing security software installation, user, and admin guides. You have collaborated with the user experience team on the design of products, participated in development for documentation style standards, information architecture, tools, and best practices, collaborated with Technical Account Management and product engineering teams to brainstorm, write, and review technical support articles then this would be an excellent opportunity to enter the cyber world.

These positions suggested are a small sample of the jobs that are available within the cybersecurity world. We will continue to see huge growth that offers women a challenging workload with excellent pay packages. Employers are actively encouraging women to get into the field and to help establish a more equal gender balance. Your lack of experience or qualifications shouldn’t keep you from pursuing a career in cybersecurity. Polish up on your computer skills by getting certifications that can be obtained online in 6 months. Some examples include: 

  • CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker
  • CISM: Certified Information Security Manager
  • CompTIA Security+
  • CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional
  • CISA: Certified Information Security Auditor. 

Follow up with marketing yourself through networking, and before long you could be a cybersecurity professional with unlimited opportunities and room for growth. 

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