Thursday, February 25

In Rennes, the field of cybersecurity seeks its share of femininity

Illustration of cybersecurity, here at the Cyber ​​center of excellence, open at the DGA in Bruz, near Rennes. – C. Allain / 20 Minutes

  • From 2018 until 2025, 1,800 jobs will have been created in cybersecurity in the Rennes metropolitan area.
  • Very dynamic, the sector is struggling to recruit, especially among women.
  • A network of “digital fighters” has been created to change the outlook on the cybersecurity and cyber defense sector.

We call her a “digital fighter”. She doesn’t really like the term, but whatever the title, it sums up her mission well. Information Systems Security Architect within the Directorate General of Armament (DGA), Marie (the first name has been changed) is one of the few women to work in cybersecurity at the Bruz site, near Rennes. In recent months, she joined the network of “digital fighters” created by her ministry with a view to feminizing the profession. And there is work. Only 5% of people working in cyber defense are women. The needs are however there. Since 2018 and until 2025, 1,800 jobs will have been created in cybersecurity in the Rennes metropolitan area, according to
an INSEE survey unveiled this Thursday. But how many will be women?

Marie is working to secure the information systems of the Ministry of the Armed Forces in order to avoid cyber attacks. An essential role to guarantee the confidentiality of exchanges between the ministry and its soldiers, sometimes engaged in secret strategic missions. A mission in which she thrives but where she is surrounded by men. In his team of 23 people, they are only three women. ” I am used to. Since I started my computer studies, there aren’t many of us ”. With her bac + 5 in hand, Marie planned to work on systems and networks, at a time when cyber defense was in its infancy. “I was told that it was not a job for women”.

“We still have too often the image of the geek in front of his screen”

The years have passed and Marie has found a place of choice in a growing sector which is struggling to recruit. She’s not the only one. In Brittany, around 8,000 people work in this field, which has yet grown very recently. According to the SANS Institute, which brings together tens of thousands of cyber professionals, there are twice as many women today as they were six years ago. Proof that the sector attracts. “We must continue the work undertaken to make the professions known”, recognizes Régine Diverrès, project manager at We ker, on the cyber sector for Rennes Métropole. “The sector is loaded with representations that suggest that cybersecurity is reserved for men, engineers. We still too often have the image of the geek in front of his screen ”.

In post since 2017 at the DGA, Marie knows that this image will take a long time to erase. For her, it is from middle school and high school that we must act. “The school orientation is still too marked. We have to show what our professions really are. Yes, I have a technical mission but my hands are not in the dirt. In my daily life, I have a lot of dialogue, varied and fascinating missions, while keeping a personal life on the side ”. Régine Diverrès shares the same observation. She also hopes to convince people in retraining to orient themselves towards these booming digital professions. To hear it, Rennes could take advantage of its attractiveness to attract new talent. “The cybersecurity ecosystem is very rich, so it offers great career prospects”.

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