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Nacira GUERROUDJI-SALVAN : more women in cybersecurity

"Trust your skills, don’t restrict yourself. Take the risk, go ahead, and start to create your own network. Engage yourself and start to learn. This is the best way !" - Nacira Guerroudji-Salvan

Nacira Guerroudji-Salvan holds a PhD in information and network security, specialized in cybersecurity and militates for the inclusion of women in the digital sector. Nacira Guerroudji-Salvan is a model for women aiming to work in the cybersecurity sector.

Picture of Nacira in colors

Picture of Nacira Salvan.

Credit : CEFCYS

Childhood and education

Nacira Guerroudji-Salvan was born in 1970 and spent her childhood in Algeria. Fourth of a family of nine children, she grew up in a traditional household which she left on the eve of the civil war, at the age of 23. She studied in France and projected herself as a doctor, but, encouraged by one of her professors who noticed her skills in mathematics, she studied computer science. Cybersecurity is for Nacira a way to protect the population- against the risks of cyberattacks - in the same way a doctor cares for their patients. She obtained a Master’s then a PhD in network and information security at the University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines.

Career in cybersecurity

Nacira Guerroudji-Salvan embodies women’s success in brilliantly occupying posts with responsibility. Before turning thirty, she became IT manager at the French bank SG2. She then held multiple positions such as Information Systems Security (ISS) manager in big firms like Safran or Thalès and she was also Director of Cybersecurity at PwC. Nowadays, she is ISS manager at the French ministry of home affairs. She is also a reservist in the Gendarmerie's COM CYBER (cybersecurity command). Finally, she teaches cybersecurity at Master’s level at the University Paris Cité.

“The cliché of the geek in a hoodie is so closely associated with cybersecurity that it's distracting people from taking up the profession” - Nacira Guerroudji-Salvan

Impact on society

In 2023, women occupy only one position out of four in the cybersecurity sector – which is already an improvement compared to ten years ago. Aware of this discrepancy, Nacira Guerroudji-Salvan fights for opening the digital sector to a larger part of women. She often tells the conversation that she heard once at the careers forum between a young girl and her father: “Look dad, there is a stand for cybersecurity.” The father answered : ”No, cybersecurity is for boys.” This anecdote reveals the sexist prejudices underpinning the cybersecurity sector. Nacira Guerroudji-Salvan has also met difficulties in her career : she has faced sexist comments such as when a male engineer is asked to solve an issue or to set up diagnostics… To change this vision of cybersecurity, Nacira Guerroudji-Salvan founded in 2016 the CEFCYS (Women and Cybersecurity Circle), of which she is still president. The association campaigns for a higher proportion of women in this sector; training courses, mentorships and the Femme Cyber (Cyber Woman) trophy are few examples of the association’s actions.

Image of the book "Je ne porte pas de sweat à capuche pourtant je travaille dans la cybersécurité”  Edition 2019 e-theque from CEFCYS
Photo of the book “Je suis une femme, et je travaille dans la cybersécurité”  by the CEFCYS, e-teque

Pictures of the two CEFCYS books "Je ne porte pas de sweat à capuche pourtant je travaille dans la cybersécurité" (I don't wear a hoodie, yet I work in cybersecurity), which includes 23 testimonials from cyberwomen, and "Je suis une femme, et je travaille dans la cybersécurité" (I am a woman and I work in cybersecurity), which contains almost 65 testimonials. Credit :


Screenshot from an interview of Nacira Salvan by SMART TECH about women's place in cybersecurity jobs

Photo of Nacira Salvan taken from an interview by Smart Tech.

For her influence in the cybersecurity sector, Nacira Guerroudji-Salvan has been repeatedly rewarded : 100 most influential personalities in cybersecurity in France by l’Usine Nouvelle and 50 most influential women in cybersecurity in Europe. Nacira Guerroudji-Salvan is not only a prize winner but also a judge as in 2022 for the prize of the Women of the Year in Cybersecurity.

So whether it is to prevent cyberthreats or to support technological development, cybersecurity jobs are waiting for you !

Written by Mathilde J., edited by Tiffanie C.




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