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It is FINALLY Time……….

The time is finally here. The hard work is starting to pay off and we can finally see our vision coming together! We are now accepting applicants for our upcoming class! The VERY FIRST Cyber Warrior Princess class will start on September 6th! The initial class will be limited to the Ohio region of Cincinnati-Dayton to ensure that it is successful and the students are providing all the support and mentoring they need.

Classes will be provided in a blended atmosphere and will require in-person attendance at least 50% of the time to complete the program. Our classes will be held on Tuesday and Thursday evenings and will feature an on-line classroom to ensure attendance for every student. Each student will be granted access to our on-line Learning Management System (LMS) and will be required to complete readings, submit assignments and successfully pass quizzes every week. To be provided a voucher to take the Security+ exam, the student must maintain an average of 80% in the class.

In addition to the 16 weeks of education, each student will be paired with a mentor in the Cybersecurity field. We will also work with students that are looking for career opportunities to match them with prospective employers.

We have read enough about the shortage of Women in STEM and Cybersecurity fields, now let’s do something about it!!!

If you are interested in applying for the first class and reside in the Cincinnati-Dayton region, please send email us admissions@cyberwarriorprincess.org. We will send you an application and all needed information to apply!

Applications will be accepted until July 31st, 2016. We look forward to receiving your application.

How did I get into Cybersecurity?

Way back, long before I want to admit I rolled up my sleeves, walked into the Air Force recruiter’s office and enlisted in the United States Air Force! Little did I know that my life was going to take me to places I never imagined……

Fast-forward almost 20 years later. Here I sit in my kitchen, watching the rain fall outside my window testing the security of computer systems for my clients! How in the World did I end up here? A “Cliffs Notes” version of my path to Cybersecurity just to prove that anyone can be in this field and there are so many awesome opportunities that allow you to be analytical, creative, witty, or even obsessive!

I started out as a Intelligence Analyst….go ahead, ask me about Area 51…..I could tell you but then I would have to kill you! I did not get the best grades in school as I really did not like what they were teaching me, it was boring and I was too smart for them at the time, at least I thought! I did score well enough on my ASVAB exam to qualify for a pretty awesome job (my dad swore I was going to be a cook and that I would be fired immediately because I can’t cook!) and luckily for me had some wonderful mentors along the way. I was living and working in Omaha, NE and had been deployed to Saudi Arabia and Europe by the time I was 20! It was a great life…..but Nebraska was not the place for me. I volunteered for an assignment in Tampa, Florida in “Information Assurance”. I had no idea what this job was, but I knew it was close to the beach and far away from Nebraska so I took it!

Arriving in Tampa, I was way outside of my area of expertise and had a lot to learn. Fortunately, I had a wonderful boss who became an important mentor in my life and provided me the training and education I needed to be successful in my career. Shortly after arriving in Tampa, the awful events of 9/11 changed my life and I ended up on a plane to the Middle East…my job…..to protect our networks. WOW! That was a really important job and I was brand new to this field of Information Assurance. With a heavy responsibility on my back I took to the books and internet. I read everything I could get my hands on, I asked questions to anyone who would give me the time of day and I made mistakes. I learned everything from patching systems, conducting vulnerability assessments, reviewing the networks for unauthorized software programs, training users on internet security¬†to dumpster diving where I once found over 50 VISA requests for our troops in the trash! I wasn’t afraid to learn new things and I wasn’t scared to make a mistake. Changes are happening faster than we can keep up and the power of knowledge and learning from your mistakes will be¬†critical in being successful with a career in Cybersecurity.

 

What the heck is Cybersecurity?

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As I prepare for the launch of the Cyber Warrior Princess Program I spend my nights and weekends promoting the idea of Cybersecurity education for women! Everyone I speak with hears the “Cybersecurity” buzz in the news, but most people have NO idea what it even means! Well, let me put into my own words what Cybersecurity means to me and how the CWP will help spread this knowledge to an underrepresented group!

Cyber is the digital world in which we all love. It’s everything that keeps us connected from the social media platforms, to our cars, smart watches to even our toilets now! We live in this connected world that we have created, but can not control. The digital world grew faster than anyone ever imagined, proving the power of the human brain. We use the digital world for everything we do anymore, but as we were rapidly connecting everything together, from end to end, we forgot about protecting this digital world.

Defining security is a little more simple as we are mostly familiar with the physical security we have in our lives. Protecting security within the cyber world is much more complicated though. Placing a police officer or a guard on patrol is very similar to network devices that monitor our organization’s network for malicious traffic. Protecting the cyber world requires a lot of people with a variety of skills. We often times refer to this a Defense in Depth, or Layer Security, meaning there is not one solution that will secure our information. Not only do developers need to write secure code, network administrators need to patch and upgrade devices, security analysts need to monitor firewalls and intrusion detection systems (IDS), we must train all of our users and our leadership must understand the importance of a holistic Cybersecurity program.

There are many, many different career paths within Cybersecurity. Not every career requires programming skills or hacking knowledge! Take me for example, one of my jobs as a Cybersecurity analyst was to review systems before they were allowed to connect to the network to ensure that they were configured in a secure manner. It’s very similar to ensuring all the doors are locked and windows shut before you leave your house. I have also held a position where I pretended to be a bad guy and try to get inside organizations without being discovered. This is called social engineering. An organization wants to test the security of their systems to see what the bad guy could do if they wanted. Everything I do with social engineering requires no programming skills.

Having an understanding of what Cybersecurity really means will hopefully open another world of career options for you!