UK spies are funding a new course for female coders

With a new bootcamp course, the UK’s main intelligence agency for dealing with cyberthreats hopes to attract more female coders to its workforce. GCHQ is sponsoring one of the 14-week ‘nanodegree’ courses implemented by Code First Girls, designed to appeal to women considering a career switch.

According to Jo Cavan, the security agency’s director of strategy, policy, and engagement, teams such as those in counterterrorism have performed better since they became more diversified. Cavan claims that one key area where GCHQ needs more diversity is in countering threats from the east. She also added, ‘We have been working hard to increase that number so we have more diverse teams and better get across the threats we need to today.’

According to certification organisation ISC2, women still make up only 25% of cybersecurity roles at the global level. When it comes to its 2021 industry report, fewer women (38%) than men (50%) come from an IT background, while women have higher rates of entry from self-learning than men (20% vs 14%). These figures suggest that there may be a sizable group of female job seekers looking to change careers to one that involves cyber.