Skill Training &
WiCyS works with its strategic partners to bring various scalable skill advancement programs, strategies and experiences to its community.
Starting our journey as a conference and growing into a non-profit with global presence, we constantly seek ways to empower our community members with meaningful relevant professional development opportunities offered by our collaborators and sponsored by our partners.
Below is our growing list of examples.
Security Training Scholarship
Originally launched in 2020 with funding from Google, this program had a proven model of success as it had 15 final scholarship recipients receive advanced certifications and 12 out of the 15 were employed in cybersecurity careers in less than 10 months. The program is designed for those with grit, determination and problem-solving skills to dive deep into cybersecurity field and advance into the workforce in a non-traditional pathway.
IMPACT: 2020 Security Training Scholarship placed these 15 individuals into cybersecurity roles within one year of starting the program.
- Laura: Network EngineerLiz: SOC II Analyst
- Hema: Senior Programmer Analyst
- Astride: Analyst
- Linda: Security Analyst
- Colleen: Senior Systems Administrator
- Surabi: Information Security Intern
- Melinda: Cloud Security Engineer
- Jennifer: Level I SOC Analyst
- Aimee: Security Engineer Intern
- Harsha: Associate Analyst
- Kristen: Information Technology Fellow
- Apoorva: Programmer Analyst
- Christine: Cloud Security Analyst
- Luiza: Threat Intelligence Intern
“Before the WiCyS Security Training Scholarship, I was a beginner in Cybersecurity, fresh out of University, struggling to teach myself the skills required to make it in the field. I was lost. I had no idea which area I would like to focus on and it was all quite confusing. Not only did the Training give me a well structured learning path that took my skills from beginner to advanced, but also I found my forte in defensive security, gained a strong support system from the ladies of my cohort, and also secured my first internship and shortly after full time job as a SOC Analyst before the training had concluded.”
“I’m thankful to the WiCyS Security Training Scholarship for turning my life a complete 180! This program is so much more than it’s curriculum and educational aspects. I’m grateful for this journey which led to me exploring myself and my professional career. I’m more than happy that I was able to switch to a cybersecurity focused role as well!”
“WiCyS/SANS Security Training Scholarship made possible by Google is one of my best investments of 2020. I met some amazing women and male allies through this program and as someone new to cybersecurity, it accelerated my learning through SANS courses, mentorship, support and hands-on problem solving via an interactive, gamified learning platform and it gave me confidence that I can have a career in this field with a solid foundation through the training and a supportive professional network – WiCyS.”
Strategic partners Bloomberg and Facebook joined Google to not only sustain the program for 2021, but also to scale it.
IMPACT: 2021 Security Training Scholarship made possible by Google, Bloomberg and Facebook (program still in session):
- 15K webpage views
- 900 applicants
Program designed as a learning experience in the multi-staged approach:
Stage 1: 600 applicants did SANS beginner-level CTF
Stage 2: 250 applicants did CyberStart Game
Stage 3: 100 applicants did CyberTalent Assessment
Stage 4: 40 final scholarship recipients receive SEC275/Foundations + GFACT, SEC401/GSEC and SEC504/GCIH. Scholarship recipients receive conference scholarships for WiCyS 2022.
View entire 2021 program details here: https://www.wicys.org/
“Through its various stages, WiCyS Security Training Scholarship has provided me the fantastic opportunity to learn and apply a gamut of cybersecurity concepts. The amazing cohort, mentors and industry partners empower and inspire me as I venture into the ever-evolving cybersecurity industry.”
“Prior to joining WiCyS, I had never participated in a capture-the-flag and I had no hands-on experiences. WiCyS has not only allowed me to learn quickly about many Cyber Security concepts and solidify my passion for this field, they also created a thriving environment of women empowering other women.”
AWS Security JAMS
The WiCyS x AWS Jams are an experiential learning platform that enables members to learn about and experience a wide range of AWS services, real-world scenarios, and compete with a team of other members to win! AWS Jam presents scenarios that represent common use-cases and operational tasks, such as remediation at scale, automation, forensics, incident response, machine learning, DevOps, compliance, and many others. The event is gamified, with WiCyS teams competing to score points by completing a series of challenges.
Beginner JAM 7/21
- 325 registrants (un-duplicated)
- 310 participants
- 72 teams
Intermediate JAM 8/18
- 176 registrants (un-duplicated)
- 163 participants
- 45 teams
Advanced JAM 9/29
- 127 registrants (un-duplicated)
- 124 participants
- 39 teams
“It was a little harder than expected, but I got to learn so much!”
“I have NEVER used AWS at all. So… I think I learned a ton and did pretty good with no knowledge.”
“This [was] a lot of fun…I was [able] to learn a new skill and I can’t wait to try again”
AWS Game Day
AWS GameDay is an interactive team-based learning exercise designed to give WiCyS members a chance to put their AWS skills to the test in a real-world, gamified, risk-free environment. Most importantly, it is an extremely fun way to learn collaboratively. We step outside the boundaries of typical workshops through open-endedness and ambiguity.
IMPACT: 37 teams filled with WiCyS members participated
“I had a blast at the AWS Security GameDay. I learned so much about AWS security tools and how they interact to create more comprehensive security solutions. I can’t wait for the next AWS GameDay!”
“Taking part in the AWS GameDay was definitely a game changer for me. It was quite an invaluable experience having a hands-on opportunity navigating the AWS console as well as employing various use cases to get familiar with the tons of great services AWS has to offer. I learnt quite a lot through this event getting my hands dirty with security in the cloud and I’m encouraging all my aspiring cloud security engineers to definitely give this a try! I look forward to the next GameDay and hopefully will be more proficient in AWS before then.”
AWS Executive Security Simulation
This four-hour training program took WiCyS members that are Senior Executives and IT/ Business Leaders through an experiential exercise that illuminates the key decision points of a successful and secure cloud journey. During the team-based, game-like competitive simulation participants leveraged an industry case study to make strategic security, risk and compliance time-based decisions and investments. Participants experienced the impact of these investments and decisions on the critical aspects of their secure cloud adoption.
IMPACT: 33 Senior and Executive level WiCyS participants did the April 2021 session.
Due to the success of the program, it was requested by WiCyS members to host it again in 2021. December 8th now has over 60 senior and executive level registrants.
View upcoming event here: https://www.wicys.org/
“The AWS ESS was great because I could practice being the security leader I aspire to become in the future. As an aspiring CISO, the simulated environment provided the perfect platform for me to hone my strategic, leadership and decision making skills in a safe and fun environment. The discussions throughout the workshop also enabled me to learn from the other participants and their experiences as well. I highly recommend this workshop to everyone as it is a creative and fun way to learn how to establish cloud security at an organization”
“Kudos to WiCys and AWS for a thoughtful and realistic cybersecurity simulation. This simulation helped us to collaborate, pool our knowledge and experience to plot decisions with the best outcomes to protect infrastructure. What an excellent workshop experience for executive leadership decision making on this very important topic. Thank you for this opportunity!”
Gamified Challenge Experience made possible by Target, in partnership with ICMCP (now known as Cyversity)
Designed to be a gateway for women and underrepresented populations to participate in capture-the-flag competitions, Target Inc. funded cybersecurity gamified challenges for WiCyS and ICMCP members to participate in. WiCyS and ICMCP members gained new cybersecurity experiences through simulated real-world scenarios that allowed them to sharpen their cyber skills. Participants built up their portfolios, added to their resumes and gained new experiences in cybersecurity through this program.
IMPACT: 319 final capture-the-flag participants and ten top performers received a WiCyS Scholarship to the 2021 conference
“Thank you so much for the opportunity. It means a lot to people who are newbies in the tech field or at the beginning of their studies. It was a great experience, I learned a lot, got interested in learning more, and I met some great people.” – Spring 2021 WiCyS member
WiCyS Veterans’ Apprenticeship Program
WiCyS recognizes that aligning military career experience with cybersecurity careers can be a struggle for our veteran community. Females veterans face significant challenges compared to male veterans that include higher likelihood of unemployment and single parenting. WiCyS designed a program to holistically support veteran members that include mentoring, training and securing two-year paid apprenticeships.
IMPACT: Program ongoing. At this time one hundred women were interviewed with the final 21 selected for apprenticeship training. 16 final WiCyS veteran apprentices, 11 employed in two-year apprentices, 2 contingent offers, and 3 still interviewing. A total of 16 apprentices and 10 mentors are awarded WiCyS 2022 conference scholarships.
“The WiCyS veterans’ apprenticeship program impacted me and my cybersecurity career. It provided me the opportunity to work with an amazing organization like Bloomberg and grow as a cybersecurity professional new to the field. It allowed me to work side-by-side with highly skilled professionals and further develop myself. I am certain that I would have not had the chance to work at Bloomberg had I not been in a cybersecurity program like the WiCyS veterans’ apprenticeship program. So I am extremely grateful for this opportunity.” – Laura Sturgeon
View entire program here: https://www.wicys.org/initiatives/veterans-apprenticeship-program/
WiCyS Mentor/Mentee Program
WiCyS programs helps to upskill and uplevel women as they prepare for advancement at all levels of their cybersecurity careers and mentorship plays a crucial role in the process. WiCyS created a curriculum for mentors and mentees in a shared cohort setting, reducing barriers and diving into meaningful conversations about career advancement. The Together Software is used to aid in the matching process and houses the curriculum and resources.
- 185 Mentors (29 entry, 23 intermediate, 36 mid, 97 senior)
- 746 Mentees (421 entry, 97 intermediate, 106 mid, 122 senior)
- 110 Both Mentor and Mentee (26 entry, 21 intermediate, 24 mid, 29 senior)
- 78 Mentors (1 entry, 23 mid, 39 senior, 15 executive)
- 608 Mentees (21 student/intern, 160 entry, 119 mid, 33 senior, 5 executive)
- 93 Both Mentor and Mentee (8 student/intern, 14 entry, 38 mid, 28 senior, 5 executive)
View entire program here: https://www.wicys.org/initiatives/mentorship/
“The WiCyS mentorship program has been an overwhelmingly positive experience. Our mentor and mentees quickly established a comfortable rapport, and I am really enjoying learning from the group. It’s encouraging to hear others’ perspectives and experiences. Biggest takeaway: We are not alone!”
“Being a mentor provides me the opportunity to share my experiences, guidance, and support but I also always walk away learning something new! As a CISO, I strongly support the mission and the passion the members exhibit and am honored to be amongst these amazingly talented individuals! We are stronger together!”
STUDENT CYBERSECURITY OPPORTUNITIES THROUGH CYBERSTART AND CYBER FASTTRACK
Cyber FastTrack gives students an opportunity to earn scholarships and accelerate their careers in cybersecurity, and gain access to free training materials.
The CyberStart game is created by experts at the SANS Institute. It’s a gamified learning platform comprised of over 200 interactive challenges that teach students about cryptography, web exploitation, social engineering, steganography, XSS, SQL injection, python, and much more.
Impact: WiCyS issued 12,000 CyberStart licenses to cybersecurity students AND to those interested in exploring what cybersecurity looks like.
“I personally loved the platform. Its challenges taught me more about cybersecurity concepts than my classes did. I would highly recommend it!” – Nghi Nguyen
View program details here: https://www.wicys.org/benefits/student-cybersecurity-opportunities-through-cyberstart-and-cyber-fasttrack/