Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) expands Security Training Scholarship Program with support from Google, Bloomberg, and Facebook

Last year, Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) partnered with Google and the SANS Institute to create the Security Training Scholarship to help women advance in the cybersecurity field and increase diversity in the field as the impact of COVID-19 intensified. Now, Bloomberg and Facebook are joining Google as supporters of WiCyS’ powerful efforts to help create a reliable pathway to launch and advance its members’ cybersecurity careers through skills development. The application for the 2021-22 Security Training Scholarship program is open until August 2, 2021.

Through this initiative, hundreds, or possibly thousands, of WiCyS members will be able to build on their cybersecurity skillsets through this sponsored Security Training Program delivered by SANS. As the program advances, participants will engage in multiple training opportunities, where participants will be progressively narrowed down to a final 38 members who receive advanced technical training to launch and/or advance their careers. Newcomers and career changers are welcome to participate in this program, which spans up to 9 months for those who take part in all its stages.

The multi-staged program starts with the SANS Beginner-level Capture the Flag (CTF). Participants will discover their strengths while challenging their limits, which is especially helpful for those new to cybersecurity. They will then engage in an interactive, gamified learning platform through a CyberStart game, which introduces them to Linux, web attacks, programming, forensics and more. The third stage includes the SANS CyberTalent assessment, which measures participants’ technical aptitude for cybersecurity learning and fundamental skills to gauge potential for advancing to the next stage. Participants will then be invited to engage in the SEC275/Foundations course + GFACT certification exam. In the final stage, they will continue to advance in SANS training courses, with an opportunity to complete additional GIAC certifications.

This WiCyS special initiative started in 2020 as a resource for its members during the trying times of the pandemic. Last year, more than 900 people applied for the program, with 445 participating in the CTF, 116 learning via the CyberStart game, and 15 receiving full scholarships to an Academy for advanced training and certification. With an overall average GSEC score of 90%, the group scored higher than any other SANS scholarship Academy cohort. One student even scored 99% on GCIH, which had only happened two times previously among students in the U.S. Cyber Immersion Academies since the programs launched in 2014. Most participants had secured employment before the program ended.

“You cannot put a price tag on the power of community, and last year’s WiCyS Security Training Program, made possible by Google, proved just that,” said Lynn Dohm, WiCyS executive director. “We are thrilled to scale the program this year, powered by scholarships from Google, Bloomberg, and Facebook. Now, 38 WiCyS members will be able to dive deep and change the trajectory of their career in less than a year, all within a cohort setting with extensive support and resources provided by mentors and colleagues. That’s what empowerment looks like, and we are thrilled that these three incredible strategic partners of WiCyS can make this happen for not only the WiCyS community, but also for the sake of the cybersecurity workforce at large.”

The application process began July 8 and is open through Aug. 2. For more information, visit http://www.wicys.org/benefits/security-training-scholarship/.

Women in CyberSecurity (WiCyS) is the 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with international reach dedicated to bringing together women in cybersecurity. WiCyS offers opportunities and resources for its members and collaboration benefits for its sponsors and partners. Strategic partners include Tier 1: Amazon Web Services, Bloomberg, Carnegie Mellon University – Software Engineering Institute, Cisco, Facebook, Google, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, Optum. Tier 2: Abbvie, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Navy Federal Credit Union, Nike, SentinelOne, Wayfair, Workday. Tier 3: Flatiron, Fortinet, Haystack Solutions, HERE Technologies, IBM, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Palo Alto Networks, SANS Institute, SAP, Smoothstack, SpearTip, Starbucks, Target, The Home Depot, University of California-San Diego. To partner, visit https://www.wicys.org/support/strategic-partnerships/.