Abstract: The cybersecurity industry is facing a significant shortage of professionals to fill open positions, with a projected staffing shortage of 1.8 million jobs worldwide by 2022. Part of this shortage can be attributed to the underrepresentation of women in the field. This research addresses the gender gap in cybersecurity by exploring the perceptions of students in cybersecurity programs about the differences between men and women in terms of the challenges they will face in pursuing a career in this field and the role of mentorship in attracting and retaining professionals in the field. Researchers conducted a set of focus groups with a total of 25 students to explore these issues. A key finding indicates that while stereotypes of a male-dominated field and gender-related challenges still exist, no gender difference or bias was reported or observed by students in their classes or workplace internships. Another key finding notes that students found peer mentorship to be one of the most valuable aspects of their cybersecurity programs and aspiring careers in the field. A set of recommendations is presented to aid in addressing all challenges identified and to suggest solutions for improving mentorship opportunities.
Download this article: ISEDJ - V18 N3 Page 44.pdf
Recommended Citation: Pinchot, J., Cellante, D., Mishra, S., Paullet, K., (2020). Student Perceptions of Challenges and Role of Mentorship in Cybersecurity Careers: Addressing the Gender Gap. Information Systems Education Journal18(3) pp 44-53. http://ISEDJ.org/2020-3/ ISSN : ISSN: 1545-679X. A preliminary version appears in The Proceedings of EDSIGCON 2019