Women in cybersecurity: IBM wants to send you to a hacker conference for free

A new IBM scholarship will cover 100% of the entry fees for any woman interested in attending EC-Council's Hacker Halted conference. Here's how to take advantage of the offer.

Video: How to jumpstart your cybersecurity career To fill the cyber-skills job gap companies are investing heavily in talent with the right experience.

It's no secret that cybersecurity professionals are in great demand—about 1 million open jobs currently exist in the field, and that number is projected to reach 1.8 million jobs by 2022.

Further, this industry is missing a key demographic: Women, who make up only 11% of the world's cybersecurity workforce, and just 1% of its leadership.

To improve female representation in the security field, on Wednesday, IBM announced a scholarship to send women to EC-Council's Hacker Halted conference—offering to cover 100% of their entry fees. The scholarship is meant to address the underrepresentation of women in cybersecurity, and help women improve their skills and expertise in the field, according to IBM.

"Improving the diversity of the cybersecurity workforce is essential to overcoming the growing threats and challenges facing the industry - and supporting growth opportunities for women in this field is a critical part of that equation," said Diane Delaney, worldwide talent manager at IBM Security, in a press release. "By providing scholarships at conferences like this, IBM hopes that more women will be encouraged to attend the event and stay up to speed on the latest trends and techniques which will help them become even more successful in the field."

SEE: How to build a successful career in cybersecurity

The Hacker Halted conference will take place October 9-10, 2017, in Atlanta, GA. The theme for the 2017 conference is "The Art of Cyberwar: Lessons from Sun Tzu," with presentations addressing cybersecurity issues from the perspective that our global society "is engaged in a constant and ever growing cyber war," according to the press release.

Several women in the industry will also offer presentations, including Shevirah founder and CTO Georgia Weidman, University of Buffalo senior information security analyst Catherine J. Ullman, and Centurion Technologies Consulting LLC executive vice president Laura Samsó Pericón.

Women interested in attending can register for free by clicking here and entering the code HH17IBM. While the scholarship covers the $199 conference only pass, which includes conference presentations and clinics, it does not cover the ethical hacking courses, which cost $2,999.

For more information on how to break into a cybersecurity career, click here.

TechRepublic readers can find some additional paid courses on ethical hacking and cybersecurity at TechRepublic Academy.

The 3 big takeaways for TechRepublic readers

1. On Wednesday, IBM announced that it will cover 100% of the entry fees for women to attend EC-Council's Hacker Halted conference in Atlanta, GA in October, in an effort to draw more women into the cybersecurity field.

2. Women currently make up only 11% of cybersecurity professionals, despite an extreme shortage in the industry and a number of open, lucrative jobs.

3. The scholarship is meant to address the underrepresentation of women in cybersecurity, and help women improve their skills and expertise in the field, according to IBM.

Image: iStockphoto/gorodenkoff

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By Alison DeNisco Rayome

Alison DeNisco Rayome is a Senior Editor for TechRepublic. She covers CXO, cybersecurity, and the convergence of tech and the workplace.