Cybersecurity analyst educates Becton females on male-dominated career field

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Ms. Laura Hurley, a cybersecurity analyst, spoke to Becton’s GHG Club and females enrolled in Mrs. Mackanin’s forensics class.

Cyber Threat Intelligence Analyst Laura Hurley visited Becton Regional High School last week to speak to members of the Girls Helping Girls Club and female students enrolled in the forensics elective offered at the school.

Ms. Hurley currently works for the NJ Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Cell (NJCCIC) and the Office of Homeland Security & Preparedness.

During the presentation, the speaker raised many valuable points. She stressed being cautious about what one posts on the Internet. “Once your information is out there, there’s really no way of reeling it back in,” she said. Ms. Hurley also explained how important cybersecurity could be in people’s day to day lives whether one is sending an email or downloading an app. During her presentation, she continued to call attention to the education needed for most cybersecurity professions. She informed the girls that most cybersecurity jobs can be obtained with a bachelor’s degree in majors such as cybersecurity, computer science, criminal justice, computer engineering, information technology or computer forensics. 

Once your information is out there, there’s really no way of reeling it back in.”

— Cybersecurity Analyst Laura Hurley

Ms. Hurley continued to add that at NJCCIC there are many internships in the field of cybersecurity. Moreover, many programs and scholarships have recently been created such as the SANS CyberTalent Women’s Immersion Academy, the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu, Women in Cybersecurity and the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies.

Last but certainly not least, the speaker encouraged the female audience to visit the website cyber.nj.gov. “It’s a great way, if you aren’t too familiar with cybersecurity, to get a feeling about what’s going on out there,” she said. The website provides information such as cyber tips, threat profiles and careers/internship opportunities. 

At Rutgers, Ms. Hurley earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and sociology, and at St. Joseph’s University, she received a master’s degree in both the same majors. She also spent a few years working in Virginia as an analyst for the Child Victim Identification Program.

According to an article entitled “Jobs in cybersecurity are exploding: Why are women locked out?”published in the Hechinger Report, the Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that cybersecurity analyst jobs in the United States will increase by 28% by 2026, but as of today, only 11% of women occupy the cybersecurity work field. Furthermore, an article in regard to women in cybersecurity facing an “uphill battle,” which was published on Fortune.com in March 2017, reveals that women continue to earn less than males and typically feel under appreciated at their place of employment.