Careers in cybersecurity aren’t just a (native) man’s game
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Careers in cybersecurity aren’t just a (native) man’s game

4 Sep 2019639 Views

Techfindr’s Dina Vyapuri is spearheading Cyber4women, an initiative helping migrant women break into the cybersecurity industry.

As we travel further into the digital age, our systems continue to become more complex and more vulnerable and, in turn, there is a greater need for professionals who specialise in cybersecurity.

Like many new fields, cybersecurity is a hot topic when looking toward the future of work. In fact, there has been an 18pc increase in demand for cybersecurity professionals in Ireland and, right now, the talent pool isn’t measuring up. With more than 6,000 people currently working in the industry, according to Cyber Ireland, there are concerns that this figure will need to increase in the coming years to keep up with the need for cybersecurity skills.

A new initiative developed under Techfindr’s branch dedicated to upskilling the female workforce is striving to help Ireland overcome this challenge, while also helping qualified migrant women who may be struggling to find employment.

Women are already underrepresented in the cybersecurity sector so Techfindr’s new initiative, Cyber4women, is now looking to help women who have moved to Ireland break into the industry here.

Siliconrepublic.com spoke to Dina Vyapuri, founder and CEO of Techfindr, to find out more about Cyber4women and why her own experiences inspired her to set it up.

Cybersecurity careers for migrant women

When Vyapuri first moved to Ireland, she had several years’ experience in graphic and web design under her belt, and yet found it challenging to find employment. She was apparently lacking the ‘Irish experience’ – something that she was told time and time again until she worked her way to a position in an IT recruitment consultancy.

It wasn’t until four years ago, when she moved to Listowel, Co Kerry, that she decided to set up her own cybersecurity recruitment company, Techfindr.

‘The wider variety of people and experience we have defending and protecting our networks, the better our chances of success’
– DINA VYAPURI

“I am passionate about cybersecurity, not just because it is constantly evolving but because of the complexity of how humans interact with the cyber world. Having this passion and a creative mind makes it easy for me to come up with creative solutions to the ever so demanding cybersecurity skills and talent shortage,” Vyapuri said.

Inspired by her own experience trying to find work in Ireland, Vyapuri then went a step further and established Cyber4women.

“The main idea behind this initiative is to open the door for migrant women to enter employment within the cybersecurity sector. Migrants have diverse skillsets and experiences that will benefit any business and many of them want to contribute to the Irish economy,” she said.

“Our vision for this initiative is to encourage diversity and inclusion within the cybersecurity industry and tackle the talent and skills shortage at the same time.”

A win-win initiative

The benefits of the programme are mutual, Vyapuri said, as it will give migrant women the chance to reach their full potential in the Irish workforce, and provide a much-needed boost to an industry that is facing skills shortages.

“This initiative will give businesses an opportunity to create a positive, diverse and multicultural workplace, and at the same time they will empower a migrant by nurturing their talent and further developing their skills so they reach their full potential,” she said.

The “bad guys” involved in cyberattacks, as Vyapuri referred to them, have a wide variety of backgrounds, whether they be threat actors, hackers or scammers. She said that businesses need to instil that same variety and diversity within workforces if they are to effectively overcome threats.

“Having more women in the workplace is good for business. Diversity in perspectives, leadership and experience is good for business. We have an influx of migrants coming into Europe and most of them are professionals with diverse skillsets that are transferable.

“By harnessing these specific skills and by adding a layer of specialised cybersecurity training, we will create outstanding professionals.

“The wider variety of people and experience we have defending and protecting our networks, the better our chances of success,” she added.

How it will work

Practically, Cyber4women will be structured as an online, on-demand and in-classroom training programme, taking into consideration the lack of free time that many migrant women experience when trying to return to work, Vyapuri explained. Its curation will be informed by cybersecurity industry needs.

Cyber4women is still a very young initiative, having just finished workshops with the Immigrant Council of Ireland as its first pilot training scheme. Now at interview and screening stages, successful applicants will be assigned to relevant training to begin in January of next year.

The training will also be moulded around the specific requirements of companies and will include behavioural and emotional intelligence processes.

“It is a very exciting time for us at Techfindr to see how far we have gone into changing the way we approach recruitment and to put the ‘human factor’ at the forefront of everything we do,” Vyapuri said.

By Lisa Ardill

Lisa joined the team as senior Careers reporter in July 2019 having worked previously in communications for a digital content technology research centre and in media for Science Foundation Ireland. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. In no particular order, her passions include feminism, human rights, literature, her bichon frise and proper use of the Oxford comma. She likes to both read and write poetry.

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