WiCyS STEPS: 

Skill Training &
Enrichment
Programs

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

 

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/benefits/security-training-scholarship/

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.

IMPACT:

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

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

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/benefits/aws-executive-security-simulation/

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.

2021 Impact:

  • 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)

2020 Impact:

  • 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/

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/