In today’s digital age, cybersecurity has become an essential aspect of our lives. Protecting sensitive information, securing networks, and combating cyber threats are crucial for individuals, businesses, and governments alike. However, the field of cybersecurity has traditionally been male-dominated, leaving women underrepresented in this rapidly growing industry. Recognizing the need to bridge this gender gap, Strathore University and Standard Chartered Bank in Kenya joined forces to launch a groundbreaking mentorship program: Women in Cyber. Over the course of four months, this virtual initiative aimed to empower women with junior-level work experience from various fields, fostering their transition into the exciting realm of cybersecurity.
The Women in Cyber mentorship program provided a unique platform for women in East Africa who possessed a strong passion for cybersecurity but lacked the necessary experience in the field. By embracing the virtual format, the program ensured accessibility and inclusivity, enabling participants from diverse backgrounds and geographical locations to benefit from the mentorship and guidance.
The program kicked off with an intensive training module designed to equip mentees with fundamental knowledge and skills in cybersecurity. From understanding the basics of networking and encryption to exploring ethical hacking techniques, the curriculum laid a solid foundation for the mentees’ journey into the realm of cybersecurity. The sessions were led by seasoned professionals from both Strathore University and Standard Chartered Bank, ensuring a holistic learning experience.
Throughout the program, each mentee was paired with an experienced cybersecurity professional who served as their mentor. These mentors offered invaluable insights, advice, and guidance to the mentees, helping them navigate the intricacies of the industry and develop their career paths. The mentors not only shared their expertise but also provided ongoing support, helping the mentees build their professional networks and identify potential opportunities in the field.
To further enrich the mentees’ learning experience, the Women in Cyber program incorporated practical exercises and real-world challenges. The mentees were exposed to simulated cyber attack scenarios, where they had to apply their knowledge and problem-solving skills to protect systems and mitigate risks. This hands-on approach allowed them to gain confidence in their abilities and provided a taste of the exciting and dynamic nature of cybersecurity.
In addition to the mentorship and training, the program fostered a strong sense of community among the mentees. Regular webinars, panel discussions, and networking events provided opportunities for the participants to connect with industry professionals, share experiences, and expand their professional networks. By creating a supportive and collaborative environment, the program encouraged the mentees to thrive and inspired them to become future leaders in cybersecurity.
As the four-month program drew to a close, the mentees celebrated their achievements and reflected on their transformative journey. Armed with newfound knowledge, skills, and confidence, these women are now ready to embark on their cybersecurity careers. The impact of the Women in Cyber mentorship program extends far beyond the individual participants, serving as a catalyst for change and promoting gender diversity in the field of cybersecurity in East Africa.
The Women in Cyber mentorship program, a collaboration between Strathmore University and Standard Chartered Bank, has successfully empowered women in East Africa to transition into the field of cybersecurity. By providing tailored mentorship, comprehensive training, and practical experience, this program has helped bridge the gender gap and create a more inclusive and diverse cybersecurity community. As these women embark on their professional journeys, they are not only shaping their own futures but also inspiring the next generation of women in cybersecurity. With initiatives like Women in Cyber, we can work towards a safer digital world driven by the diverse perspectives and talents of women.
It was a pleasure taking on this journey especially with my mentee Judith Musoni and wish her all the best in her career and a happy Graduation tomorrow.
Prepared By Pinno Ivan Louis