Cyber Security Challenge UK’s Diversity & CyberCenturion team led by Steph Aldridge organised their first ever girls’ Roadshow designed to introduce 14-16 year olds to cybersecurity and give them an opportunity to mingle with professionals working in this field. Two female analysts from e2e-assure also took part in the afternoon “speed-dating” activity, where the girls could learn about different paths into cybersecurity, what the day-to-day job looks like and ask questions.
Over 80 girls from St. Catherine’s senior school participated in this event which also involved quizzes and a hands-on capture the flag (CTF) exercise.
Josie Ireland, one of the students who previously took part in the GCHQ’s CyberFirst programme, said that “Cybersecurity is about fun and teamwork, and events like today’s are great because of the different perspectives of the female speakers here who shared their experience with us; it’s interesting to know that cyber is so versatile. The CTF game was difficult but fun; my team found 3 flags and I will definitely look for other opportunities to get involved in similar activities.”
Sue Weighell, St. Catherine’s Head of Careers, who helped to make this event happen, said that “the aim was to make the girls understand where careers will be in the future. We have many enterprise days in the school, but this was the first time the girls engaged with cybersecurity and we hope they will understand this field will only rise in importance.” Davina Burn, one of the school’s IT teachers, added that the students already have good ICT knowledge but can expect many more programming classes starting next year, when they also have to decide what subjects to pick for their A-levels.
Most of the girls are at this point undecided but beginning to wonder about what to choose and this was clear from the questions asked during the Q&A session. Two main ideas that this event tried to reassure the girls of was that there are many various strands of every job on the market and that passions can come late – it’s not unusual to switch fields if you realise later in life that the path you had previously chosen may not be suitable for you.