CompTIA offering free cyber security upskilling classes in Birmingham, Manchester and Preston

Cyber Ready - CompTIA

CompTIA, a non-profit tech association, is offering free cyber security upskilling classes in Birmingham, Manchester and Preston for groups who are under-represented in the cyber industry.

CompTIA's initiative, Cyber Ready, is a six-month retraining programme designed to ensure all graduates develop the necessary skills and knowledge to secure Cyber Security related employment.

The flipped-classroom approach combines classroom and online teaching methods and is designed to encourage applications from candidates who may have other commitment and time limitations.

The free course is open to people in-work and has been developed to improve the diversity of the cyber talent pipeline by supporting returners to tech, low skilled, graduates, ex-armed forces, women, and BAME individuals.

Graham Hunter, CompTIA’s vice president for skills certification in EMEA, said, “The need for cybersecurity professionals and the vital skills they provide remains robust, even in the midst of the worst global pandemic in the last 100 years.”

“In fact, certain types of cyber-attacks have increased in frequency during the pandemic."

"This is prompting more employers to strengthen their cyber defenses and recruit skilled personnel to secure data, devices and networks.”

During the six-month programme, candidates will have access to the latest industry-standard content on cybersecurity, via on-demand videos, virtual labs and adaptive questions to build their cyber skills. The learning will be supervised by trainers with real world experience in cybersecurity.

Applications for the West Midlands class close on the 14th August and the North West on the 21st August. You can find out more about Cyber Ready and how to apply here.

Cyber Ready - CompTIA

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Why is IT still struggling with gender diversity?

Could Disruption be the long awaited catalyst for Diversity? (F)
Diversity - Via Shutterstock

Encouraging women to pursue careers in the traditionally male-dominated technology industry isn’t just about creating more job opportunities for women; gender diversity in the workplace can also boost a company’s success.

According to a report by Catalyst, businesses with the most females had, on average, 42 per cent greater return on sales, 53 per cent better return on equity and 66 per cent greater return on invested capital. Workforce diversity also leads to teams that are more creative, innovative and capable of responding to changing market needs.

However, despite women’s influence in the sector, gender diversity is a persistent issue within the technology industry. In such a vast and growing area, women still take up a very limited amount of IT positions. Research by PwC found that only 15 per cent of people working in STEM roles in the UK are women - this is a miniscule figure and does not reflect well on the industry as a whole.

In order to ensure women are encouraged to pursue careers in IT, there are a number of things that the industry should be doing, starting at education and reflected at a corporate level.

It Starts at School

PwC revealed that just 16 per cent of girls have had a career in IT actually suggested to them and so only 64 per cent actually study a STEM subject at school. These results highlight that right from the beginning, young girls are being pigeonholed and not given the access to experience technology like their male counterparts. This means young women rarely see the great opportunities that are in the industry for them. Education institutions and industry need to work together to ensure the opportunities within IT are communicated to both boys and girls and the right information about how to pursue a career – and the different ways of getting there – is circulated.

A Room of Their Own 

Being inspired to pursue a career can be as simple as seeing someone who looks like you succeeding professionally, but many women do not feel there is this opportunity for role models within the IT industry. Cristina Greysman, Chair of CompTIA’s Advancing Women in Technology (AWIT) Community, knows what it feels like to navigate industries where she is the woman, she comments: “I have been in the tech industry for over 15 years and most often was the only woman in the room. I felt like I’d been representing my gender my entire career.”

It’s important to understand that ultimately, the goal should be to make the industry more inclusive to all people, to ensure that both women and men have the chance to succeed and have people above them to be inspired by.

The Next Step in Education

In recent years, organisations and Government have dedicated resources and funding to non-university education programmes that introduce women to STEM fields and helping professional women navigate careers in the tech industry. The latest of which is CompTIA’s six-month re-training programme, Cyber Ready. The programme has been created to provide an alternative way for women to get into the cyber security profession and the flipped-classroom approach combines classroom and online teaching methods to help candidates, such as new mother, who may have other commitment and time limitations.

Expansion of the technological developments across all sectors means there are potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs to be filled in the next few years and the industry desperately need girls and women to be inspired and take some of these roles.

Zeshan SattarAbout the author

Zeshan Sattar is CompTIA's Certification Evangelist. He is a fanatical learner with a passion for ensuring IT Certifications are the cornerstone of all learning and development programmes. With a background in Digital and IT Apprenticeship programmes, Zeshan has worked at the forefront of programme design, curriculum development and technical training.

CompTIA releases research detailing What Needs to Change to Inspire Girls’ Pursuit of IT Careers

More information about careers in technology and support from parents and role models can encourage more girls to enter the IT industry, according to research from not-for-profit CompTIA.

comptia-logoThe research called Make Tech Her Story: What Needs to Change to Inspire Girls’ Pursuit of IT Careers was based on a survey and focus groups of girls between the ages of 10 and 17.

The report found that parents play a key role in introducing technology to children and in addition 36% of boys were found to be more likely to explore how tech devices work out of curiosity compared to 30% of girls.

Of those surveyed nearly half of boys have considered a career in tech compared to only a quarter of girls. 32% of girls who have taken technology as a subject are more likely to consider it as a career, however only half of the girls who have taken such courses are confident that their skills are right for the job.

“Achieving greater gender diversity in our industry requires major changes in the ways girls interact with and learn about technology,” said Todd Thibodeaux, President and CEO, CompTIA.

“It will take a concerted, collaborative effort and long-term commitment by parents and role models, teachers and counselors and, most importantly, industry mentors, who can convey their passion about working in tech to future generations.”

When surveying girls who had not considered IT as a career, 69% said this was because they did not know the opportunities available to them. 53% said additional information about careers in the industry would encourage them to consider a job I technology.

Only 37% of all girls said they know of someone with a job in IT. This figure rose to 60% amongst girls who have considered IT as career.

Tracy Pound, Managing Director of Maximity and member of CompTIA’s Board of Directors, said: “The research really shows how important initiatives like the Make Tech Her Story campaign are in raising awareness and identifying role models for both children and parents.

“With the predicted expansion of the technology industry there are potentially hundreds of thousands of jobs to be filled in the next few years and we desperately need girls and women to step up and take some of these roles. It’s an exciting industry to be part of; there’s always something new and fascinating to investigate and make use of. Anyone who wants an interesting career should take a look at what the technology industry has to offer – it’s kept me busy and engaged for over 30 years!”

The free e-book, containing all findings is available here.

CompTIA brings Dream IT programme to UK to inspire girls and create role models

IT trade association CompTIA has brought its Dream IT initiative to UK shores, to create female role models within the tech industry and to promote careers in IT.

The not-for-profit launched the Dream IT programme in the US last year, offering free online resources to inspire young girls to take up careers in tech or to encourage women to switch careers or re-enter the job market. CompTIA claims the US programme is on track to reach 10,000 people this year.Professional-Woman-Careers-400x400

The programme provides ready-to-use presentations and seminars, along with resources for young women to learn about the opportunities a career in IT can offer. The materials are designed to equip role models with the tools needed to present within schools, colleges, universities and careers fares. Articles are included which demonstrate what a career in IT is like and what skills are needed to get started.

Speaking to WeAreTheCity at CompTIA’s recent EMEA Conference in London, Nancy Hammervik, Senior Vice President, Industry Relations at CompTIA, said: "Women are 51% of the population and 60% of graduates are females overall. We are doing the IT industry a great dis-service if we don’t encourage more women to join. Women have been known to be more creative, better leaders and are the primary household buyers – they should share a perspective on products before they go to market.”

"Unfortunately only 9% of girls say they have considered a career in IT, so we have a responsibility as an industry to share what roles in IT look like. You have to interface with technology in every industry, whether it’s fashion, medicine, if you run a restaurant or you’re a coder. We need to take away the fear to ensure tech isn’t seen as a chore."

“The other side of this is that we want the women who are already here to feel good about themselves, empowered and to be able to share that. It’s not just about the women – about 30% of our male members are now on the roster to support with women in IT initiatives.”

She added: “There is an appreciation and frustration from women in the industry who want to give back. They appreciate that they are not in an industry where they are going to be replaced or downgraded and they have a sense of frustration that not many know how great a career in IT can be.”

Estelle Johannes, Director, Member Communities UK at CompTIA, said: “We follow where the need is and we’ve been localising the presentations and the video to ensure it engages the right people. Before the launch there was already a group in the UK who expressed their interested in launching the programme over here.”

“The materials aim to show that there is a place in IT for everybody.”

Cathy Alper, Director, Member Communities US, CompTIA, said: “Ensuring that more women enter the IT industry is hugely important for diversity and helping address the industry-wide skills gap. Women are actually well suited for a career in IT, which requires all sorts of skills, not just programming. Women bring leadership and interpersonal skills, which are a benefit to the IT workplace. In fact last year, we found that 73% of female IT professionals believe that their jobs make good use of their skills.

“We’ve been working closely with our UK member community over the past year to develop these new materials that will help ensure that women and girls hear about the opportunities and benefits of a career in IT.”