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SANS Seeks To Help Level CyberSecurity Playing Field With Scholarship Program

By - Source: Toms IT Pro

SANS is a well-known player in the information security field, with beaucoups of training and certifications focused on that subject matter, and a track record of over two decades of intense activity on security topics across the entire spectrum.

Their decision to fund a scholarship program for training and certification aimed at women surely reflects their ongoing observation that the battle of the sexes in this field remains severely unbalanced on the male side. Bully for them that they’re doing something to help swing the pendulum in the other direction, hopefully toward an even balance.

Last week’s SANS Newsbites (Volume XVII – Issue #79) features an interesting item entitled “Women’s Cyber Talent Search Offers Scholarships For Intensive Hands On Training (October 9, 2015).” Basically, it announces a partnership between SANS and the National Center for Women in Technology (which I find resolves online to the National Center for Women and Information Technology) to offer more than $300,000 in scholarships to women interested in attending the SANS CyberTalent Immersion Academy for Women. The qualifying exams are available only for the next two weeks or so (they must be completed on or before October 30, 2015), so interested readers will want to get cracking on this right away. To that end, here’s a list of resources that members of the fairer sex who work (or wish to work) in IT with interests in information security will want to dig into immediately:

The SANS certifications that fall under this umbrella currently include the GIAC Security Essentials (GSEC) and the GIAC Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) credentials, with a third certification also available, that will be determined by the choice of an elective course selected by successful applicants who enter and complete an Immersion Academy for Women program. That third course and exam are optional (and apparently have not yet been completely spelled out), so that Women’s Academy attendees have both a two-course and three-course option for exercising their scholarships. Onsite attendance for course SEC401: SANS Security Essentials Bootcamp Style at a SANS conference is required, while course SEC504: Hacker Techniques, Exploits & Incident Handling is taken online via SANS OnDemand. I imagine the third course will depend on what options are made available, and assume an OnDemand offering would be likely to help limit travel costs and time away from home, job, and family.

There is no information available about how many women the program’s budget will accommodate, so I’ve contacted SANS to try to find out. Once I get that information, I’ll update this blog post accordingly. But because this is not only one heck of an opportunity but also one with a limited shelf life, I wanted to get the word out ASAP. If anybody who reads this blog post actually wins one of these scholarships, I hope you’ll contact me to let me know. I will probably also want to follow up with you to find out how things go, and what the overall experience is like, and any impact on your professional life. To all interested parties: good luck and best wishes! To transitioning veterans preparing to leave any of the branches of the service, male or female, be sure to check out what the Immersion Academy can make available to you, too (here’s a great starting point: brochure [PDF]).