Breaking Barriers and Inspiring the Next Generation of Women in Tech

Bryan Smith
Apr 13, 2023
min read
Group photo from a cybersecurity event

This past weekend, I had the incredible opportunity to volunteer at the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation (MCWT) Girls High School Cyber Challenge at the University of Michigan-Dearborn. This event was an eye-opening experience and a testament to the power of encouragement, support, and the potential of young women in the technology industry. In this blog post, I hope to share my experience, discuss the importance of diversity in the cybersecurity field, and express my gratitude to the MCWT for their mission to make Michigan the number one state for girls in technology.

A Day of Learning and Growth

The enthusiasm and drive of the young women at the Cyber Challenge was nothing short of inspiring. These high school students willingly gave up their Saturday to tackle complex challenges such as “Hack your first PC” and participate in real-world incident-response tabletop exercises. They learned valuable skills in incident response and risk-based decision making, along with hands-on experience in port scanning, vulnerability research, exploitation, and privilege escalation.

My Journey to Cybersecurity

During a break, I was given the opportunity to share my own journey into the cybersecurity field with the participants. My path was far from traditional; I was an unmotivated “C” student in high school, more interested in skateboarding and video games than academics. However, my passion for ethical hacking and reporting bugs to companies during my nights and weekends eventually led me to start my own penetration testing company, Redline Cyber Security. Today, I am helping businesses of all sizes secure their digital landscape and prevent cyber-attacks.

Bryan Smith, co-founder of Redline, speaking on stage
Bryan Smith - Founder of Redline Cyber Security
The Importance of Diversity in Cybersecurity

These young women have the skills, determination, and potential to succeed in the cybersecurity industry. As they continue to pursue their interests in this field, they will have the opportunity to “write their own ticket” in a predominantly male-dominated industry. Diversity is essential to the development of innovative solutions and robust defenses against cyber threats. Encouraging and supporting women to enter and thrive in the field of cybersecurity will not only help close the gender gap but will also contribute to a more inclusive and effective industry.

Continuing to Encourage and Inspire

I firmly believe in the importance of encouraging, supporting, and inspiring girls to pursue careers in technology. I am grateful for the opportunity to volunteer at the MCWT Girls High School Cyber Challenge and look forward to helping even more young women get involved in the amazing field of cybersecurity in the future.

A Heartfelt Thank You to MCWT

I would like to express my deepest gratitude to the Michigan Council of Women in Technology Foundation for their unwavering commitment to promoting gender diversity in technology. Through events like the Girls High School Cyber Challenge, they are empowering the next generation of female tech leaders and paving the way for a more inclusive industry. I am proud to be a part of their mission to make Michigan the number one state for girls in technology.

Final Thoughts

My experience at the MCWT Girls High School Cyber Challenge was a powerful reminder of the impact that encouragement, support, and inspiration can have on young women pursuing careers in technology. I am excited to see the future contributions of these talented individuals in the cybersecurity field and will continue to do my part in fostering an inclusive and diverse industry. Thank you, MCWT, for all that you do for girls in technology!

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