A Tennessee Tech professor traveled outside the state and country to inform others about cyber security.
Computer Science Professor Ambareen Siraj said she was invited to speak at the Global Cybersecurity Forum in Saudi Arabia.
“Cybersecurity is now a very big global problem. One of the things that the government in Saudi Arabia is trying to do is bringing world leaders together to figure out global initiatives to tackle different aspects of cybersecurity,” Siraj said.
One of the issues that was discussed during the panel is the lack of diversity in the cybersecurity workforce. Siraj said almost 46% of the cybersecurity work force in Saudi Arabia are women, while in America it’s 20%.
The Science and Research office invited Siraj to Washington D.C. to speak about cybersecurity workforce diversity and how the federal government can invest in issues.
“The biggest challenge in cybersecurity I think is ready workforce. There are more than half a million jobs that are open in USA right now that no one is taking. In Tennessee there are more than 5,000 jobs that are open in cyber. So it’s a big problem,” Siraj said.
Siraj added there are about 1.5 million skilled persons in the cyber workforce. She believes the remedy is to expand cyber and STEM education as early as kindergarten.
In addition, she believes you have to expand opportunities to other peoples in different fields into cyber, such as veterans, stay at home moms, community college students, and non traditional groups.
“Cyber is very vast. There are so many things that can be done in cyber, and whatever someone’s skilled in I’m sure they can find a way to use their skills in cyber,” Siraj said.
Siraj is the founder of Cybersecurity Education, Research, and Outreach Center (CEROC), and the national Women in Cybersecurity.