Girl Scouts may be the next generation of cybersecurity professionals.
The Girl Scouts of the USA recently announced a collaboration with Palo Alto Networks, a cybersecurity company, to deliver the first-ever national cybersecurity badges for girls in grades K through 12. Girl Scouts can earn badges for learning and mastering skills on different topics, ranging from life to survival skills.
Now, members of the troops will be able to try their hand at coding, working through 18 cybersecurity badges led by a panel expert cybersecurity advisers.
According to a Girl Scout press statement, a study by (ISC)², "Global Information Security Workforce Study: Women in Cybersecurity", shows that women remain underrepresented in the cybersecurity industry, holding just 11 percent of jobs globally. Nearly 70 percent of women say they don't pursue careers in information technology because of not realizing what opportunities there are available, according to research by the Computing Technology Industry Association.
Women can help fill a worldwide deficit of qualified cybersecurity professionals that will reach 3.5 million by 2021.
The new collaboration aims to introduce cybersecurity education to millions of girls in the U.S. through "compelling programming designed to increase their interest and instill in them a valuable 21st century skillset."
The effort will target girls as young as 5-years-old to build a foundation for a successful future in cybersecurity.
Girl Scouts will be able to start earning the new badges in September of 2018.