What can I Do? Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer and Information Research Scientists

Computer and information research scientists invent and design new approaches to computer technology and find innovative uses for existing technology[1]

Entry Level Education – Masters degree

2019 Median Pay – $122,840 ($59.06/hour)

Job outlook – 16%

What they do: Invent new computer tools, invent computer languages, improve software systems, design experiments, publish their findings and present at conferences

Where do I start: Learn a programming language… or 10. There are free/paid resources such as codecademy, udemy, freecodecamp

Where do they fall in the NIST[2] – Research and Development under the Technology R&D Specialty Area

[1] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-and-information-research-scientists.htm

[2] https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-181.pdf

Why Representation Matters!

One of the most frequent questions children are asked by well meaning adults is “what do you want to be when you grow up”. I wanna be like Mike when I grow up, they might say. I am going to be the next Viola Davis or Issa Rae. No, you got that, I’m going to be like Tiger. Younger kids might want to be a princess, or a ninja, a ballerina or even a doctor. But before kids have the cognitive ability to form for themselves what they want to be, they are influenced by what they see on TV, in movies, on YouTube or in the news. Prior to the age of Obama, there may not have been a lot of little black children saying, “I want to be President.” Michelle Obama had me thinking whether I wanted the smoke involved with going to law school. Doc McStuffins (albeit fictional) has inspired more than a few future doctors. It is hard to believe that you can be something where you don’t see people like you in that space. Our kids need to see Black people in the C-suite. They need to see Black engineers, and hackers and developers, and scientists and mathematicians. There are 3 black people who are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. They are all men (Davis, 2020).When was the last time you were asked your favorite basketball player? Now how about your favorite Engineer? The Massachusetts Institute of Technology had its first Black graduate in 1892. It gave its first Civil Engineering degree in 1917 (25 years later) (Kershner, n.d.). Throughout that time the engineering discipline was dominated by white men. In 2019, Engineering occupations have only 15.7% women, and 6.8% Black. White men still represent over 77% of the engineering profession (Statistics, 2020). That is why it’s important to see Black people in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.  

Lack of Diversity in STEM fields doesn’t start with diversity training, it isn’t fixed with diversity programs, its fixed by encouraging young black (and minority) boys and GIRLS to engage in Summer STEM camps, to focus on practical applications of math besides handling finances, and to engage in robotics and computer programming and engineering at a young age. It starts in early childhood education. From 2006 to 2016 the number of Black people in undergraduate education increased from 1.82 million in 2006 to 2.11 million in 2016. For comparison, the number of White people enrolled went from 9.2 million in 2006 to 8.6 million in 2016. Of that 1.8 million Black people, 1.2 million were Black women. The number of women enrolled in engineering programs went from 65,169 in 2006 to 135,414 in 2016. For context the number of all undergraduates in engineering programs went from 379,004 in 2006 to 624,096 (NSF.gov, Undergraduate enrollment in engineering programs, by enrollment status, sex, ethnicity, race, and citizenship: 2002–16, 2020). Although women represented 56% of students enrolled in undergraduate education, they only represented 21% of students in engineering in 2016. And while Blacks represented 12% of the 2016 undergraduate enrollment, they only represented 5% of the engineering students (NSF.gov, 2020). What this says for Women and Blacks in STEM is that while they are well represented in undergraduate education, the number of women, and black women specifically in the pipeline to STEM fields is severely lacking. To begin to fix the disparities in STEM fields children need to see more women and minorities in STEM. They need to know that we have amazing men and women in cyber (Shout out to Lisa Jiggetts of Women’s Cyberjutsu and Marcus J Carey of Tribe of Hackers) and amazing Black Women in Mathematics and Data Science (Shout out to Kim Martin at Netflix).

To address the lack of diversity in STEM, we need to see more Black STEM heroes. We need to see them on the Boards of companies, and the executive suites of Fortune 500s. But most importantly when they get there, they need to use their influence and resources to reach back and create programs that expose children to STEM at an early age. Representation matters because there are those of us out here who wanted to be a hacker when we grow up and we need a face and a name for our vision boards, for our “who’s your favorite engineer” conversations and for our #goals.

Davis, D.-M. (2020, July 21). One of the only 4 Black Fortune 500 CEOs just stepped down — here are the 3 that remain. Retrieved from BusinessInsider.com: https://www.businessinsider.com/there-are-four-black-fortune-500-ceos-here-they-are-2020-2

Kershner, K. (n.d.). Famous Black Engineers Throughout History. Retrieved from howstuffworks.com: https://science.howstuffworks.com/engineering/structural/famous-black-engineers.htm

NSF.gov. (2020, September). Undergraduate enrollment at all institutions, by citizenship, ethnicity, race, sex, and enrollment status: 2006–16. Retrieved from NSF.gov: https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf19304/data

NSF.gov. (2020, September). Undergraduate enrollment in engineering programs, by enrollment status, sex, ethnicity, race, and citizenship: 2002–16. Retrieved from NSF.gov: https://ncses.nsf.gov/pubs/nsf19304/data

Statistics, B. o. (2020, January 22). Labor Force Statistics from the Current Population Survey. Retrieved from BLS.gov: https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm

They don’t make that kind of money in my area!

The same way that minimum wage varies by state (despite a federal minimum), people in different areas can make more or less money doing the same jobs. For Information and Security Analysts, there are a wide variety of industries and geographical variations that go into the average salary. The industries with the highest concentration of Information Security Analysts are Financial, Computer Services, Data Processing, Telecommunications, and Enterprise Management. You may find it interesting that although those are the highest concentration of Information System Security Analysts as recorded by the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) in 2019, the industries with the top pay are completely different. While the job description and duties may stay the same, not all industries value Analysts the same way. Similarly, pay discrepancies may also vary based on Location.

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151212.htm#st

As the BLS shows, variations in wages differ not only by industry but by location. Information Analysts get paid more in New York and New Jersey than they do in Virginia and California.

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151212.htm#st

This information has implications for your job search. Once you’ve decided to become a Information Security Analyst, decisions such as industry and location can affect how much you can get paid. If you have flexibility in terms of your location selecting industries that value the role can result in much higher salaries over time.

https://www.bls.gov/oes/current/oes151212.htm#st

What Can I Do?

My background is in Computer Engineering, Electrical and Computer Engineering to be exact. I have worked the last 10-15 years in Quality Assurance performing system audits, software testing, writing documentation including test plans and test scripts, and identifying levels of risk within the organizations I have supported. While it was easy for me to pen point the required tasks that I performed to support my task of getting a Project Management Professional certification, I found it a bit more difficult to identify tasks that I performed specifically within the Cyber Security space. That task is made a bit easier by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) SP 1800-181 NICE Framework. The NICE framework identifies tasks that are frequently included as being part of a cyber security work role. Advise senior management on risk levels and security posture for example (T0003) is an integral part of being a Privacy Officer or Privacy Compliance Officer, an Information System Security Manager and a Communications Security Manager three highly sought after roles within the Cyber security space. Through this resource I am able to translate the skills that I have been doing for years, into demonstrated work experience to support the shiny new Cyber security job I want. Once you have identified your Cyber experience you can provide specific examples of times you had to advise on risk or update your resume to target your career change. If you don’t have the skills for the target job you’ve identified in the Cyber security field you can see what type of experience you need to get in the door. Black Girls Hack will be tying the NICE Framework with the Bureau of Labor Statistics occupational outlook to provide What Can I Do cheat sheets that show various job categories within Cyber and what you need to do to get in those jobs.

https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-181.pdf

What can I do? Computer Network Architects

Computer Network Architects

Computer network architects design and build data communication networks, including local area networks (LANs), wide area networks (WANs), and Intranets.[1]

Entry Level Education – Bachelor’s degree

2019 Median Pay – $112,690 ($54.18/hour)

Job outlook – 5%

What they do: Network Architects design and build communication networks. They help develop the design of the network and what network tools and devices will be used for the design.

Where do I start: Learn Networking

Certifications: COMPTIA Network+

Where do they fall in the NIST[2] – Network Operations Specialist under the Network Services Specialty Area

[1] https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/computer-network-architects.htm

[2] https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-181.pdf

Black Women In Cyber

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are approximately 5.3 million people in Computer and mathematical occupations. Of that number only 25.8% are Women, and only 8.7% are Black. For Information Security Analysts during this same time frame there were 125,000 people reported. Of these 17% were women and 15% were Black. Women are grossly underrepresented in Computer related fields representing 23.6% of other computer related jobs with Black women representing only 12.7%. Black Girls Hack was created to help show Black women and girls the job prospects in Cyber Security, people in the field who look like them who are doing the jobs, and provide training and resources to help reduce the gap in the Cybersecurity field.

https://www.bls.gov/cps/cpsaat11.htm

Where do I start?

One of the questions I get most from people looking to switch or start fresh in a new career is where do I start? The answer: All roads lead to cyber. There is no one right way to get into cyber security.

I was reading a book on Imposter Syndrome by a guy who transitioned from a career in BARTENDING into cyber security. He used his knack for communication and his skills as a people person to get into Social Engineering. My point is that there are so many types of jobs in cyber security that you can use get your feet in the door.

The key to getting into cyber security is knowing where to start. There may be multiple skills or knowledge areas that you have that translate into a particular sector of Cyber security. What are you good at? What do you enjoy doing? What skills do you use at your current job, or which skills would you like to use? The National Institute of Science and Technology(NIST) developed a workforce framework to help translate skills and knowledge areas into specific jobs. NIST’s Workforce Framework, called the National Initiative for Cyber security Education (NICE) Cyber security Workforce Framework is set up into workforce Categories, Specialty Areas, Work Roles, Tasks, Knowledge Descriptions, Skills, and Abilities. Review the lists of Skills, Abilities, and Knowledge Descriptions and take note of which ones you have and or which ones you would like to learn. From there in Appendix B you can find which jobs use those specific skills. That will tell you the names of the types of jobs you should be looking for[1].

In the What Do I Want To Do category within the BlackGirlsHack blog, you will find a listing of those jobs tied back to salary, pay, required amount of education, and Job Outlook for the next 10 years which represents the projected percent change in employment from 2018 to 2028.

[1]https://nvlpubs.nist.gov/nistpubs/SpecialPublications/NIST.SP.800-181.pdf

[2]https://www.bls.gov/ooh/computer-and-information-technology/home.htm

Representation Matters

Representation Matters. Black children see Actors on Television and on Movies, and Athletes playing major league sports and they want to be the people that they look up to. Black girls and women need to see black women in Science Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). The Representation Matters blog was created to show black girls and women people who look like them who are in STEM and Cyber security fields. The Representation Matters blog will showcase black women in Cyber Security who are hack or who do work in the cyber security field.

Hello world!

Welcome to Black Girls Hack where it is our goal to share resources, information and provide training to increase representation of Black Girls and Women in Cyber and Information Security.

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