TechNet panel discusses lack of women in cyber-security industry

AUGUSTA (WJBF) — Thousands of people are in downtown Augusta for TechNet, a cyber-security conference for the military, defense contractors and civilians.

Dozens of private companies packed in the Augusta Convention Center.

All of them brought new cyber-security software and equipment for the military.

“You’ve got Fort Gordon, obviously, that’s local, Fort Stewart, Fort Benning and within this close-mile radius, we have the opportunity to showcase kind of our latest, greatest technologies, get some feedback from the soldiers who come through here on the show floor,” L3 Technologies U.S. Army Sales Director Charlene Caputo said.

Caputo has been working in the industry for 10 years.

As you look around TechNet, you’ll see a lot of men, but not a lot of women.

Some data shows the workforce is only 11% female.

“I think it’s changing. Obviously, a mix of gender and multi-cultural diversity is always a great thing. You’re going to bring new things to the business area and the solution set. I think you get a different kind of perspective on things that you wouldn’t necessarily get,” Caputo said.

Organizers are hoping to change the gender gap for the better.

The Women in Cyber Group holding a panel to discuss how female professionals are helping solve cyber-related problems.

“The more you see women succeed in a field, the more you will see women come into the field. And we saw that in the Signal Corp in the Army. When I came in, we were a small fraction, but today, we are like 40%,” UNISYS Group VP of Defense and Intelligence Jennifer Napper said.

The retired Army Major General is trying to raise awareness about cyber-security.

Napper says plenty of organizations are giving away scholarships to young women who might be interested.

“I think you should follow your passion, no matter what it is. So if you have an interest in it, go for it. There is nothing you can’t do. The world is wide open for anything, including cyber. Just because it’s men in it today doesn’t mean that’s all it’s going to be tomorrow,” Napper said.

Cyber-security groups predict there will be a shortage of 2 million cyber-security professionals by 2019.

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