Securty service provider, Smarttech247, is offering a course for women looking to develop skills for a future in cybertech and security.

Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform Michael McGrath launched the academy, and the first student intake is planned for autumn. The top performing participants will be offered the opportunity to take part in a 12-month placement at one of Smarttech247 bases in Ireland, Poland or Romania.

Over a 6-week term, students of the Smarttech247 Women in Cybersecurity Academy will have access to expert level knowledge and industry experience, and they will gain experience using the latest sophisticated technologies.

Applications are now being accepted for the course, from women who have, or are on track to receive, a degree in computer science. Women who are already working as threat hunters or pentesters who want to further develop their skills are just as welcome as those who are recent graduates in the field.  

General Manager of Smarttech247, Raluca Saceanu says the Academy was partly inspired by her experience as a woman working in the sector.

"Men outnumber women three to one in the cybersecurity sector which means that the industry has a wide pool of untapped talent as we face an increasingly sophisticated level of threat from our adversaries," she said "With this programme we want to demonstrate to young women who are at the start of their cybersecurity career that many opportunities await them."

Minister McGrath congratulated the firm on the initiative. "It's a positive example of a company playing their part in establishing a more gender-balanced working environment, which can only be of benefit to all. I wish them and the Academy's students all the very best on their journey."

There is a major skills gap in cybersecurity as it undergoes rapid growth, with 4 million vacancies being predicted for the industry by 2021. Mr Saceanu said women should be filling more of those roles.

"Cybersecurity needs more diversity in thought and action to help drive innovation, improvement and resilience, especially now as the coronavirus pandemic raises significant risks in unprecedented ways. We look forward to seeing graduates of the Smarttech247 Women in Cybersecurity Academy playing their part in the fight against cybercrime activity."