Only 11 per cent of those working in the Cyber Security industry are women, according to Professor Tanveer Zia, Project Leader of Charles Sturt University’s Girls in Cyber Security Advancing program. We’ve experienced similar numbers with only 9.5% of all IT Masters students enrolled in Cyber Security or Information Systems Security courses being female, but a promising trend is appearing with this number increasing to 15.5% over the last 12 months.
IT Masters graduates are bringing balance to the talent pool, especially with two amazing achievers last year.
Each Year IT Masters awards a prize to the graduates with the highest Grade Point Averages (GPAs). The Graduating Prize Winners (aka the top performers) for the 2019 Academic Year for both Security Masters Degrees were awarded to women.
Master of Cyber Security Award winner Elise Hickman was “excited and proud to achieve the award as there were so many knowledgeable people studying the course”. The online learning format allows for class collaboration much like traditional study, Elise explains “Class cohorts and lecturers helped drive my desire to learn more about cyber security which helped me to achieve great results and surpass my expectations.”
Natasha Steele was not only the prize winner of the Master of Information Systems Security Award, she also won the PETA Power Memorial Prize, for the graduating female student with the highest GPA in any of the CSU IT Masters courses. Asked about her achievement, Natasha was humbled. “Going into my studies I experienced a lot of self-doubt so winning the award came as a surprise, but was real boost to my confidence in my own abilities” she said.
With experts suggesting that women mentors might help entice and retain female talent in the sector, these two women (along with future CSU IT Masters graduates) might well be in high demand.
Elise advises potential Cyber Security students: “Don’t be put off if you’re not the most technical person. Understanding the concepts and how to apply them is critical, technical skills can be built upon for each subject and there is a wealth of information at your fingertips.”
Words of wisdom from Natasha? “If you are considering studying Information Security, don’t let self-doubt hold you back. Speak up, ask questions, challenge your assumptions. It is a fascinating and evolving area of study with exciting employment opportunities.”
The list of 2019 prize winners is below:
|Masters||Prize Winner||Current Role||GPA||Results|
|Master of Business Administration (Computing) Award||Darren Morris||Director of ICT at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment||6.08||3 High Distinctions, 7 Distinctions|
|Master of Cloud Computing and Virtualisation Award||David Graupner||Consulting Partner at Streamline Partners||6.67||8 High Distinctions, 2 Distinctions|
|Master of Cyber Security Award||Elise Hickman||Information Security Officer at the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment||6.38||3 High Distinctions, 5 Distinctions|
|Master of Information Systems Security Award||Natasha Steele||Security Operations Governance Manager at the Department of Customer Service||6.64||8 High Distinctions, 2 Distinctions|
|Master of Management (Information Technology) Award||Douglas Roth||Withheld||6.17||3 High Distinctions, 1 Distinction|
|Master of Mobile Applications Development Award||Donald Witcombe||Director at an App Development Business||6.45||6 High Distinctions, 4 Distinctions|
|Master of Project Management Award||John Sutcliffe||Senior Project Manager, Urban Development at Cardno||6.00||2 High Distinctions, 8 Distinctions|