Cybersecurity insights from Janine Funke

Among cybersecurity professionals, there are only 20% women. This is the result of a 2019 Cybercrime Magazine survey, a far cry from the 50% that would represent parity. In this interview, Janine Funke – Cybersecurity Consultant at Kugler Maag Cie – provides some answers and insights into why we need more women in cybersecurity and what additional perspectives young female professionals bring to the table.


Hello Janine, you’re going a way not every young woman would consider. But why do you think are there fewer women working in Cybersecurity?

First of all, I would like to mention, that those women, even if there are not as many, which are currently working within Cybersecurity are really smart and sympathetic, with which I really enjoy working. I am convinced that women and IT, and therefore Cybersecurity, go well together. For example, Lovelace wrote the first unpublished programming language in 1843, Grace Hopper was programming the first computers.

Coming back to the question…I think one thing is that we need more female leaders in Cybersecurity who can be role models for women starting their careers. Maybe if women don't see other women in top positions, they are less likely to see a future in Cybersecurity. Moreover, in the past, there hasn't been as much emphasis on technical qualifications for girls in education. That's slowly changing, too. And Cybersecurity is quite a new topic compared to other professions and is on the rise. As women are getting more and more into IT, the time will hopefully bring more female colleagues!

How would you describe the opportunities for a woman in Cybersecurity today, especially in consulting?

We have a severe shortage of skilled workers in Cybersecurity and consulting. That's why I don't see any disadvantages for any gender at all at the moment. Women bring diversity and a special leadership style, as well as a pleasant way of working in teams and projects. Only diverse teams – that doesn't just include gender – can tackle problems holistically and can also think outside the box and bring creative solutions to customers. This is exactly what consulting is all about. That's why the opportunities for women in CS and consulting are better than ever. 


If you take both Cybersecurity and your career one step at a time, you can achieve anything if you really want to.

Janine Funke Cybersecurity Consultant

What do you see as the biggest hurdle that needs to be overcome for more women to pursue this career path? What do you think the Cybersecurity industry could do to make this field better accessible for women?

For me, one aspect is that we need more female leaders who can empower other women, as I addressed before. In addition, family planning is a big factor. Yes, many men now also take parental leave and the division of the household is certainly no longer the same as it was 20 years ago. But when men take parental leave or help out in the household these days, it is highlighted in a very positive way, which it is actually, but the same work is seen as obvious for women. Our perception of roles could use a little more equality here. We can't change biology, and I think women will always have a kind of more rigid role in family planning, but some things can be done. Family life must become more compatible with work for all genders. But this is not only special to CS. This must be changed within all industries. 

What advice do you have for an entry-level woman in the Cybersecurity industry?

Find a female mentor, ideally from the Cybersecurity industry or a related area of security or IT. I also have a female mentor and I really enjoy the exchange with her. She provides me with good advice because she has been in similar situations and shares her learning with me along the way.

And the most important thing is: Just do it and see how it works for you. Especially when you are at the beginning of your career take your time to see what your passion is and try out things.

When we look at the retirement age in Germany, we have enough time to make mistakes and learn from them. Gathering experience is, of course, exhausting and no one enjoys it, but it moves us forward. 

Cybersecurity is not magic. Sometimes someone's idea of what they want to achieve seems far too big. But if you take it step by step, you can achieve anything if you really want to.

About a Cyber Woman

Janine Funke is a Consultant at Kugler Maag Cie. She is an automotive Cybersecurity expert and is supporting OEMs and suppliers to get ready for one of the most challenging topics for the industry now. Regarding autonomously driving vehicles, the damage potential of manipulation is increasing rapidly. Therefore, Janine is supporting her clients with gap analyses, process improvement activities and Cybersecurity assessments or audits. She loves working on an international level and is therefore supporting customers all over the world.