Rationale for Lack of Women on the Engineering Sector tied to Risk Management, Cybersecurity, and STEM fields

This blog provides an overview of why there's a lack of women entering the field and how we can improve the odds by integrating early childhood activities that increase the key component required to succeed in the Engineering fields: spatial cognitive skills.

If you're wondering why there's a lack of women entering the Engineering side related to the three (3) key areas currently being encapsulated as one under the "Cybersecurity" heading, then read on. In this blog I will provide an overview from a twenty (20) years perspective in the field before all items where encapsulated on what has lead to a lack of understanding on what I consider to be some of the reason for lack of women in the Engineering fields that fall under today's encapsulated "Cybersecurity" heading.

Understanding the Landscape of What "Cybersecurity" Roles are... is Lacking

With the current encapsulation of Risk Management Activities with Cybersecurity activities and integration of roles not directly tied to the frameworks noted, but essential for the development of new technologies within STEM areas , a clear overview on the roles within the various sections (i.e., Risk Management, CyberSecurity, STEM fields) isn't broken down or clearly explained to the mases. This is important because each individual role within the areas of Risk Management, Cybersecurity and STEM have a unique set of skillsets and requirements that can have an impact individual's ability to make a well informed decision on what role will be best suited to their skills and interest, those leading to withdraw from the courses during the early stages, because it doesn't fits their view of the perfect job.

We all know, that if we don't LOVE what we do, we get frustrated. Frustration leads to unhappiness, unhappiness leads to sloppy work. Sloppy work leads to failures, failures lead to financial damages. This is one of the main reasons why the number of women in the field is lower than men on the Network Engineering, Computer Science side of the spectrum.

Neurological Perspective

While the idea of "Left and Right" brain is irrelevant as it pertains to gender, there's certain characteristics that are engraved during early childhood which leads to a higher neurological understanding of concepts. In many instances, the differences can be grouped under the headings of "ARTSY/CREATIVE" and "SCIENTIFIC" headings. Once again, gender is irrelevant in the context, it is related to the preferences and psychological upbringing engraved during the early childhood phases. Understanding how this two (2) set of differences function will provide a better understanding on why most women either skip Engineering and/or fall mainly on one side of the spectrum. that isn't tied to Cybersecurity or Risk Management but tied to the STEM fields of Software Engineering and/or Development.

While the characteristics can be intercorrelated between the two, the combination of specific characteristics can be the reason leading to the discrepancies on preference.

Type Characteristics
Artsy/Creative This type has very unique preferences. The typical characteristics for this type are:

  • Has stronger ability to bring into life 2D or 3D objects
  • Stronger skills in the areas of painting, drawing, singing, acting
  • Reading isn't the strongest area, specifically on the non-fiction spectrum
  • Brain Teaser games are rarely of interest
  • Prefer Visual abstracts vs. Non-Visual
  • Tends to have a short attention span to details
  • Strategic Games such as Chess are rarely of interest
  • Curiosity Level on How something works is typically non-existent, low or medium. High levels are rare
  • Tends to be re-active vs. pro-active on most areas of life
  • Tends to avoid problem solving, specially if it requires to much thinking
  • Lacks the ability to make connections between disparate concepts, regardless of visualization or lack thereof
  • Enjoys visualizing the outcome of their work in color and abstracts that are tied to a set of rules
  • Typically Enjoys and performs better on structured environments with set processes.
  • Knowledge is only attain if required. Is not a never ending process.
  • Functions better on a structure educational setting
  • Tends to limit taking risks

Scientific The scientific type also has very unique preferences. The typical characteristics for this type are:

  • Ability to make connections between disparate concepts, regardless of visualization or lack thereof
  • Enjoys Reading with a higher concentration on non-fiction
  • Tends to enjoys Brain Teasers and Strategic Games
  • The Curiosity Level on how something work is high. Dismantling and Restoring things is a habit
  • Enjoys building and engineering things when proof of concept is required to validate their theories
  • Loves problem solving and streamlining process to the highest efficiency level feasible
  • Tends to be pro-active vs. re-active on all areas of life
  • Visualization isn't essential at all times to grasp concepts
  • Tends to dislikes Inefficiency and repetition
  • Tends to enjoy Data Manipulation and Streamlining
  • Gathering Knowledge is never ending, especially on the areas of interest
  • Attention Span tends to be Higher than normal.
  • Functions in either a structure or non-structured educational environment Tends to prefer non-structured
  • Tends to be a Risk Taker, sometimes with pre-calculated impact

Most women are "ARTSY", but not all women have the key component to succeed in Engineering: Spatial Cognitive Skillsets. In rare cases, some women have a mix of characteristics , but those with a stronger concentration on the Scientific realm will do better on the Engineering fields that require an analytical mind such as Computer Science and Information Technology Risk Management.

What are the best STEM roles for "ARTSY/CREATIVE" Individuals who score higher on the Scientific Side?

Creative/ Artsy individuals love visualization. The best areas for someone who enjoys seeing their visions come to life are within the STEM field, and they include but are not limited to, the following:

  • Mechanical Designer/ Engineer - Drafts 2D and/or 3D objects on a computer screen using AUTOCAD or similar software. Typically works for NASA, Boeing, and major Engineering Companies.
  • Graphics Animation- Takes 2D/ 3D computerized objects and integrates animation. Typically works for PIXAR, DREAM WORKS, DISNEY and major animation movies Companies
  • Software Engineering- Works closely with Developers and sometimes is part of the development team responsible for bringing to life the requirements of a client into usable interfaces that incorporate ease of use. Typically works for organization that have unique needs and required the development of a tool as part of their business offering and/or to address an internal needs.
  • Website Designer- Designs websites for clients based on their needs.
  • Robotics Artificial Intelligence (AI) - Helps a team of engineers bring AI to life through the use of robotics. Typically works for companies developing robots for the military and/or private organization
  • Video Games Developer- Self-explanatory. Develops the awesome games for Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch. Typically works for Microsoft, Sony, or any organization dedicated to video games development

What is Spatial Cognitive Skillsets?

Spatial Cognitive Skillsets is related to the ability of encoding and transforming information about objects and their location in a coherent manner regardless of whether it is visual or non-visual. Is a set of mental skills that enable us to reason about space and the relationships between objects. The skills are tied to Spatial Problem Solving, which can be described as the ability to create useful analytical models attached to a set of processes for exploring spatial data in order to address a whole array of problems and questions associated with the problem being analyzed.

How can one gain Spatial Cognitive Skills?

Spatial Cognitive Skills are rarely taught or enforced during a girls early childhood. In fact, many of the way to acquired the skills are tied to boys, hence why they are most successful on this area. To increase Spatial Cognitive Skills, they must be incorporated during the early stages of childhood. The following is a list of items that can help increase the skills among girls in order to increase the number in the fields noted in this article.

  • video games (i.e., Tetris, Portal, Journey, Minecraft, Little Big Planet, Super Mario, etc. )
  • geometrical games (i.e., tangrams, Perfection game by Hasbro, Pattern Block Activity Sets, 3D Geometric Shapes, 3d Geometrical Maze Puzzles, Rubic's Cube, etc.)
  • strategic games (i.e, chess, go, sequence, Risk, Draughts, Mancala, Candy Land, Chinese Checkers, Twilight Struggle, Gloomheaven, Star Wards Rebellion, Mechs vs. Minions, etc.)
  • Geometrical Blocks (i.e., Wooden Blocks, Legos, etc.)
  • Brain Teaser Games (i.e., Quadrillion by Smart, Boogle, Gordian's Knot, Kanoodle, IQ Puzzler's Pro 2d/3d Brain Teaser, etc.)
  • Puzzles
  • Abacus (Chinese or Japanese)
  • Word Find and Cross-word puzzles

Current Wave of Women in the Field

A high number of those in the field didn't come from a technical /engineering background. In fact, many transition into the field with one reason in mind: Money. With the exception of a few, the majority don't love the job, and those has lead to doing the minimum required because the landscape isn't geared towards individuals who score higher on the "ARTSY" side of the house and most lack the essential skills. In order to advance in the field, the skillsets must be the equal to or greater than the male's in the field. While some may see the statement noted as discrimination, it isn't. In fact, it's related to the job requirements and ability to perform the tasks given. While anyone can do their best to gain spatial skills by leveraging any of the above techniques, it's harder for an adult to find the items listed above fun or even grasp the concept than it is for a young child to get used to the idea and fully grasp the concept behind it.

Conclusion

The reality of the current situation isn't pretty. Is not meant to be, especially in the U.S. The U.S. education system has a high number of failures and it's incoherent. The process of memorization in order to attain higher grades on a subject doesn't allow our children to learn how to think... but rather forces them to follow a process that's faulty and fails to consider the fact that each child's learning capabilities is unique to their way of thinking and personality traits. Testing results will never provide an accurate view of the kids intelligence. In order to increase the number of U.S. individuals in the field, major restructuring must take place within the U.S. Education System.

Today the highest concentration of engineers comes from Europe or Asia. That is because the education process integrates many of the items noted above during the early childhood and continuous to enforce them up to college. Maybe the U.S. should look into their approach and incorporate some aspects of their process.

By Karen Baez | on Friday, October 26 2018 00:38

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