The research still shows that girls are dropping off of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) interests around 12 or 13 years old. There are many reasons for this and it has been discussed at great links, but regardless many talented young women, who just might have talents that would be very valuable in cyber-security roles are leaving for other fields of interest.
Facebook Inc. has partnered with San Jose State University’s Jay Pinson STEM Education program and CyberGirlz social network to create an after-school program and camps that provide support, encouragement, and baseline understandings of security principles common in the field. The curriculum consists of 6 lesson plans, “cryptography, networking, troubleshooting computers, forensics, web exploitation, and binary exploitation.” Every lesson is presented in a fun and interactive way to enhance the learning experience.
Each of the 38 girls who attended the camp this week will receive blue HP Facebook computers since many of them do not have computers at home. Facebook chief security officer’s message to the girls was this: “we need more people to do this (work), It’s very hard to find people to hire. The need outstrips the talent.” The girls were asked why they were interested in the program; some of their reasons were to learn new tricks and coding, while others were interested in getting an edge in this competitive field. Stamos told the girls about programs that they could start now in cybersecurity, by working on bug bounty programs offered by tech companies like Yahoo Inc., Reddit, Square Inc. and Google Inc. These programs pay out or give recognition to the people who report bugs, exploits, and vulnerabilities on their systems.