Many female professionals are looking to take on a career in cybersecurity or change their current specialisation. This because cybersecurity attracts professionals coming from different fields, from STEM disciplines, to legal, policy and communication. This shows that, professionals working in cybersecurity come from different backgrounds and often do not follow a linear path.

Earlier this month, the Women4Cyber Foundation launched its Mentorship Pilot Programme (applications are now closed) aimed at helping women improve their skills and advance their cybersecurity careers at all levels.

Because we are all lifelong learners, Women4Cyber (W4C) opened its Mentorship Pilot Programme to anyone looking for help in their career development regardless of age or professional situation. For example, several of the selected mentees have a background in law or political science and are looking to get specialised in cybersecurity disciplines. There are, of course, other mentees with more technical backgrounds who seek guidance in order to start or improve their careers, while there are also mentees with considerable work experience in a field other than cybersecurity who are looking to change their career path towards cybersecurity.

During the six-month programme, 19 mentors coming from all around Europe and across sectors, including private, public and academia, will provide personal and professional guidance to respectively 24 mentees with different backgrounds and levels of expertise, sharing their experience and helping them identify and achieve their career goals.

This variety of backgrounds and career paths reflects one of the main mottos of W4C and driving factors behind all our activities: Cybersecurity is a multifaceted field that requires technical skills as much as soft skills. Working in cybersecurity is not only strictly related to the possession and performance of technical skills and tasks, like coding and STEM disciplines, but it can involve other areas of interest that take into account cybersecurity legislation and policies.

Therefore, the aim of the mentorship programme is both to create an exchange between mentors and mentees, so that they can learn from each other while advancing their careers, and to create a community to support the entry of women into the cybersecurity job market, bringing visibility to the many opportunities this field has to offer. This is why, the creation of a forum for people to share and learn from each other is essential in the field of cybersecurity.

The next phase of Women4Cyber’s planned series of mentorship programmes will begin in the first half of 2022 and will be on a much larger scale. The next programme will be a collaboration with industry partners who will provide a pool of mentors from within their own organisation that will be able to offer a breadth of expertise within different knowledge domains in cybersecurity. These mentors will be matched with mentees through a dedicated application procedure that will be set up by Women4Cyber.

Industry partners interested in partnering with Women4Cyber on future mentorship programmes or other activities are invited to contact the Secretariat at hello@women4cyber.eu.