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The CSEC Women's Cybersecurity Mentoring Program has started – bringing together more than twenty experts in one place

In Tarčin, more than twenty cybersecurity experts and young women, high school and university students specializing in technical fields, gathered with the aim of exchanging experiences, education, and improving their skills within the Women's Cybersecurity Mentoring Program. They had the opportunity to attend inspirational lectures and participate in the "Women in Cybersecurity" panel.

Ajna Ogrešević, a student at Bihać Gymnasium, specializing in computer science, said that this training is extremely important to her and has broadened her horizons. "Definitely something I hadn't considered is how important security is, especially in the digital sector and in all other areas of life. This is something that should be discussed in elementary and high schools as well," she added.

Edina Hasanović, a student at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Sarajevo, specializing in Telecommunications, expressed satisfaction with the opportunity to network with cybersecurity experts from the academic and banking worlds. "As a final year student, I'm thinking about my future career, and it's time for me to take some serious steps on that path. This mentorship is an opportunity for me to gain the necessary knowledge in the field of cybersecurity," Hasanović emphasized.

Women continue to be underrepresented in the field of cybersecurity, which this mentoring program aims to address. The program provides structured support and mentorship to women aspiring to succeed in this dynamic industry, taking into account statistical data illustrating this inequality. Šeila Bećirović Ramić, a senior assistant at the Faculty of Electrical Engineering in Sarajevo, highlighted: "The goal of the program is to familiarize young women with concepts related to cybersecurity, to perhaps find some new direction in their careers, to get to know each other and network."

Lejla Turulja, a full professor at the Faculty of Economics in Sarajevo, said that the response to this program has been excellent. "We had over forty applications from girls, who are students, and some are already employed. We selected 12 of them, but others may also get a chance in the future when we plan more programs like this through CSEC," Turulja added.

After the mentoring program, mentees will become part of the #WomenInCybersecurity cluster in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which will provide them with the opportunity to stay connected to the field and further develop their careers in cybersecurity. The cluster will provide support, opportunities for further education, and professional development.

At the first event within CSEC's Women's Cybersecurity Mentoring Program, girls from various parts of Bosnia and Herzegovina – Sarajevo, Stolac, Bihać, and Zenica – gathered. They had the opportunity to participate in workshops, lectures, and panels on various aspects of cybersecurity. This mentoring program includes key components such as personalized mentor-mentee connections, skills development workshops, networking opportunities, career guidance and counseling, exposure to real experiences and feedback and progress monitoring. The program will last for four months and is organized by the Cyber Security Excellence Centre (CSEC) in collaboration with partners from the academic and banking communities. Support for the program was provided by the Government of the United Kingdom.

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