Network Security Academy

The Fortinet Network Security Expert (NSE) certification program is an eight-level training and certification program that is designed to provide independent validation of network security skills and experience. The NSE program includes a wide range of self-paced courses, as well as practical, experiential exercises that demonstrate mastery of complex network security concepts. Fortinet’s NSE learning is eligible for (ISC)2 CPE credits. (ISC)2 will consider submissions based on one hour of Fortinet’s training and education initiatives equalling 1 CPE credit, with a maximum of 8 per day.
The Fortinet Security Academy Program and the International Consortium of Minority Cyber Professionals (ICMCP) are working together to help women and ethnic minorities navigate their career journey, providing information, direction, and learning to help them proceed to their career destination. 
In 2019, (ISC)2 produced a Cybersecurity Workforce Study, that concluded 4.07 million workers would need to fill all open jobs in cybersecurity, in addition to the 2.8 million already in field. However, even with such demand for cybersecurity professionals’ women and ethnic minorities often deal with additional roadblocks when attempting to enter and/or struggle with the ability to progress on their career journey once in the cybersecurity industry. 
Long Way Around
The term career path is often utilized in in conjunction with the cybersecurity skills shortage or gap. Often a career path involves a series of courses or experiences one would take or have in a progression of learning about the cybersecurity industry and beginning to specialize in a specific area. The term career paths is assumptively utilized in a manner that would indicate all participants whom would like to enter the career field are welcome, and that all one must do is follow simple steps to make their way into a growing, high paying career field. Yet, for many women and ethnic minorities the road to a career in cybersecurity is not often smooth and typically winds uphill.   
Before ever applying to a role within the cybersecurity industry, women and ethnic minorities suffer from a lack of access to resources and information necessary to envision a career in cybersecurity, often referred to as the digital divide. “Black (58%) and Hispanic (50%) students are less likely than White students (68%) to use a computer at home at least most days of the week.” Diversity Gap  “Female students are less likely than male students to be made aware of Computer Science learning opportunities on the Internet and in their community.” This lack of access to resources and information reduces a student’s opportunity to cultivate new abilities. Students of color chose other pursuits versus exploring technology et. cybersecurity as field study in college. 
Students of color whom still opt to study cybersecurity in college are met with new obstructions to traverse on their path. 
They often end up in overcrowded or under-funded colleges, systematically filtered from more selective institution due to cost or personal background. “Students of color are largely facing different college experiences. More than eight out of 10 of new white students attended selective four-year schools, compared with 13 percent for Hispanics and 9 percent for African Americans” Those same students despite their high secondary education accomplishments are less likely to develop fully into a career paths, if graduate college at all. Further adding time to their journey. 
Students of women and ethnic minorities whom graduate college are met with new difficulties when attempting to enter the cybersecurity field. Companies focus their hiring and recruitment attention primarily on students from selective institutions. Using tropes like culture fit” as a way of justifying hiring decisions. Often companies have higher barriers of entry for women and minority applicants than their peers
“62% of minorities in cybersecurity have obtained a master’s degree or higher, compared to 50% of professionals who identified as Caucasian” ISC2 study doing the same job roles. While “minority representation within the cybersecurity field (26%) is slightly higher than the overall U.S. minority workforce (21%).” Even with often more advanced degrees “racial and ethnic minorities tend to hold non-managerial positions, with pay discrepancies, especially for minority women.”ISC2 study  
After entering the cybersecurity workforce, attempts advance in ones career is equally as obstructed for women and ethnic minorities. “32% of cybersecurity professionals of color report that they have experienced some form of discrimination in the workplace.Women across all races and ethnicities, who identified as a minority, report discrimination in even higher numbers across every category, presenting an enormous barrier to advancement for minority women in cybersecurity” ISC2 study  
Even if these employees do not experience such discrimination, the lack of representation among executives and company leadership can send a message either unconsciously or consciously that moving up into more advanced positions may not be a possibility for them at the company.”Shiftyes
Navigating the Path
The mission of ICMCP is to achieve the consistent representation of women and minorities in the cybersecurity industry, functioning as a representative body on issues of development that affect the careers of minority and women cybersecurity professional.  Helping individuals traverse the ‘great cyber divide’, ICMCP provides direction and resources for women and minorities to find a straighter more inclusive route into cybersecurity. 
The Security Academy Program partnered with ICMCP, to bolster the resources available to their members, by providing Fortinet’s award winning NSE Training Institute self-paced learning access, as well as exam vouchers to members whom complete the learning. Allowing members to become industry certified at no cost, removing access and cost as obstructions on one’s path. 
While some take a straight path, for many women and ethnic minorities entering the cybersecurity field must take the long way around. A winding road, riddled with detours, with ample reason to get off at the next exit. However, if one chooses to continue their journey traversing the skill gap, organizations like ICMCP are essential to navigating to the other side.