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Some companies claim to support increasing the number of women in formerly male-dominated technology industries, but HP is putting its money where its mouth is with a $250,000 scholarship for women who plan to attend select universities across the U.S. and study IT security.

HP announced the scholarship program on February 24th as part of a larger effort to improve IT security education. According to Art Gilliland, senior vice president and general manager at HP, there is a “pressing need” for skilled employees in the security industry today, and the scholarship program is one facet of the company’s initiative to “support security career growth and introduce new talent to the field.”

The scholarship program goes hand-in-hand with HP’s academic collaboration with 60 accredited universities – where HP assists educators at those institutions with developing a curriculum that instills solid fundamentals in IT security.

About the HP Scholarship

The HP scholarship is known as the Scholarship for Women Studying Information Security (SWSIS), and was actually founded by Applied Computer Security Associates (ACSA), not HP. However HP joined up with the nonprofit organization and the Computer Research Association Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research (CRA-W) to help boost the skill sets of university graduates in the field of cybersecurity.

The $250,000 will be provided by HP to the ACSA over a period of four years. Scholarship amounts per qualified student will range from $5,000 up to $10,000 per year, for up to two years of education.

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The scholarship stipulations are as follows:

  1. Students must reapply after the first year to confirm that they are still studying IT security.
  2. Students accepted into the scholarship program have an opportunity to intern at HP.
  3. CRA-W is the organization responsible for reviewing applications and providing recommendations to the ACSA.

Any student or prospective student interested in applying for a scholarship will need to provide a “statement of interest” in studying within the field of IT security The Latest Internet Security Threats That You Should Be Aware Of The Latest Internet Security Threats That You Should Be Aware Of Security threats have increasingly come from new directions and that isn’t looking set to change in 2013. There are new risks you should be aware of, exploits of popular applications, increasingly sophisticated phishing attacks, malware,... Read More , as well as a transcript and current educational status. Applications are being accepted in spring of 2014, to be awarded for the 2014-2015 school year starting in the spring.

Why HP Offers the Scholarship

Why is HP offering to fund this scholarship program? According to the HP press release, the company sees a “skills gap” in the field on IT security when compared to the “evolving threat landscape”.

The press release notes the findings of the IT Security Jobs Study, which revealed that:

  1. The IT job market will be 40% vacant in 2014.
  2. There is no clear professional IT security development track for IT professionals.
  3. Senior IT jobs are hard to fill, so most employees in those roles lack important IT security skills.
  4. Women still only make up 20% of the information security workforce, and that number has only increased 8% since 2005.

The hope is that the HP scholarship will help to reverse many of these troubling trends for women in IT security.

How to Apply

If you are a female undergraduate student or master’s student working toward a degree in information security, you can apply for this new scholarship program at the SWSIS website. To qualify for the scholarship, you must present evidence of your interest in IT security by detailing any courses Bite The Entrepreneurial Bug By Taking 7 Free Online Courses On How To Start A Business Bite The Entrepreneurial Bug By Taking 7 Free Online Courses On How To Start A Business In any 21st century job, the work is hard and the hours are long. Thankfully, there’s a secret mantra revealed to the truly courageous – if you are not in a perfect job; create one... Read More , organizations, internships or any other work experience that you have in the field. This experience can include not only cybersecurity but also software security, network security, computer forensics and many other security concentrations.

Finally, students who want to apply need to be studying at a University in the United States, and must be either a U.S. citizen, or a have permanent residency status.

Source: HP Press Release | Image Credit: young Students via Shutterstock

  1. Dennis
    March 26, 2014 at 9:51 pm

    The idea of offering more scholarships in order to spark more widespread interest in IT Security is certainly an excellent idea! However, in order to get the most bang for the buck, in terms of the most qualified applicant, gender should not be considered. What about the more qualified x-lesbian transexual that misses out because she is now a man .... or the transexual male who is now legally a woman. Absurd idea maybe , but you see my point.

    The whole HP idea to begin with was to have the best possible people .... not to social engineer the workplace!

  2. Jeremy
    March 8, 2014 at 2:01 am

    Ryan, my apologies - my comment was intended for Steve! Ryan, I 100% agree with you.

  3. Jeremy
    March 7, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Ryan, I suppose you also oppose football scholarships, since those are exclusively for men?

    • Ryan Dube
      March 8, 2014 at 1:06 am

      Hi Jeremy - I don't really understand your question. I think there should be scholarships exclusively for men studying certain trades (like nursing, teaching, etc) just like there should be scholarships exclusively for women in fields like that above.

      I'm staunchly pro-gender equality (REAL equality, not the nonsense most gender "activists" espouse these days), so you guys are really barking up the wrong tree.

  4. Steve
    March 5, 2014 at 8:00 pm

    Shame on you for supporting gender discrimination. Females are now getting not only the majority of college degrees, but the majority of graduate degrees and doctorate degrees. There is nothing being done to correct that "discrimination". This is an attempt to prop up some people entirely due to their physical traits, not on their ability.

    • Ryan Dube
      March 8, 2014 at 1:10 am

      Steve - I agree, and someone should take a stand in favor of actively recruiting more males in high school to pursue higher education. That's a real need - I agree 100%.

      I also work in IT and know that women are vastly under-represented in upper-level management in technical fields. They are under-represented across most engineering disciplines as well. So, there is a very real need to try and attract more women to pursue the specialized field of IT security, because there simply aren't enough graduates right now to fill the need in that area.

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