Creating a Diverse Cybersecurity Workforce and Solving the Talent Shortage

The Cybersecurity Readiness Podcast Series

Jun 14 2023 • 56 mins

Recent cybersecurity workforce study reports reveal that a) there’s still a global shortage of 3.4 million workers in this field, and b) only 25% of the global cybersecurity workforce are women. In this episode, I had an engaging discussion with panelists Ashley Podhradsky, Vice President of Research and Economic Development at Dakota State University, and Kriti Arora, Security Global black belt, Threat Intelligence and External Attack Surface Management, Microsoft, North America, on attracting more talent, especially motivating and inspiring women to become cybersecurity professionals. One of the key messages that came out of the discussion was not to allow a certain stereotype or image to influence career decisions. A woman's innate traits and abilities, such as multitasking, problem-solving, organizational skills, curiosity, and the zeal to go above and beyond, will serve her very well as a cybersecurity professional.

Here are links to some useful cybersecurity training and awareness resources:

Time Stamps

00:02 -- Introduction

03:33 -- Ashley Podhradsky's professional highlights

04:59 -- Kriti Arora's professional highlights

08:22 -- Dakota State University's cybersecurity initiatives

11:30 -- Kriti Arora's exposure to cybersecurity education and her reflections on the learning experience

14:17 -- Holistic approach and human element in cybersecurity

17:21 -- Core cybersecurity offerings at educational institutions

19:23 -- Cybersecurity awareness and training throughout the organization

21:43 -- Gender discrimination in cybersecurity

25:23 -- Cybersecurity stereotypes

30:05 -- Cybersecurity skillsets

33:19 -- Why women are likely to be very successful in cybersecurity

37:38 -- Industry-academic partnership

42:55 -- How would you promote cybersecurity to your female friends?

45:08 -- Resources for cybersecurity education and training

53:22 -- Final thoughts

Memorable Ashley Podhradsky Quotes/Statements

"When I was in school, I was usually the only woman and I wanted to do what I could to help bring more women into this field. It's incredibly exciting and a wonderful environment to be in."

"As I have a seat at the (senior leadership) table, I scooch over and make a seat for someone else; I find great job satisfaction and take immense pride in helping promote, support, and advance women in this field and be their champion."

"Showcasing collegiate women to middle school girls in the near-peer mentoring model has been very positive for girls to understand that they can also be a part of this cybersecurity field and experience."

"I've heard "No" a lot. But the only thing that tells me is that I'm talking to the wrong people. And I need to try something different and talk with someone else. And then I can get to that, "Yes."

"If we're only focusing on the people who are in the right age group, right now, we're never going to solve the (woman in the cybersecurity workforce) problem, we have to...