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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.
The scholarship stipulations are as follows:
- Students must reapply after the first year to confirm that they are still studying IT security.
- Students accepted into the scholarship program have an opportunity to intern at HP.
- 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, 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:
- The IT job market will be 40% vacant in 2014.
- There is no clear professional IT security development track for IT professionals.
- Senior IT jobs are hard to fill, so most employees in those roles lack important IT security skills.
- 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, 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.