AUGUSTA, Ga. (WFXG) - The cyber security mission and field are both growing. But so is the talent gap. You'll find different stories for those who join the army, especially when getting involved in cyber security.

For 2nd Lt. Samantha Rankin, it was a straight line to the field. “I just graduated from college in May so I will just be attending the cyber course and then also the electronic warfare qualification course.”

For 2nd Lt. Felicia Aguirre, it meant transition later in life. “I was twenty-six when I joined. I was an engineer before that. So, I studied aerospace engineering and I always wanted to do something in the military field.”

But one thing they share is perspective. Both recognize a gap in representation.

Rankin says, “When I graduated in the computer science department, there were six girls that were graduating with computer science degrees.”

“You get used to that, you get used to that feeling of okay I might be the only female, to the point where the feeling of you don’t even notice it,” says Aquirre.

The pair believe that feeling needs to change.

“With diverse backgrounds, and majors, and way of thinking, then you have more tools in your toolbox to solve a really difficult problem.” For 2nd Lt. Aguirre, that desire hits close to home. She’s the first in her family to pursue STEM. “Both of my parents did not go to college and then one of my sisters is a teacher.”

Aguirre says she wants to be an example for her niece. “Now that I’m a soldier, she dressed up as a soldier for Halloween. So you can tell it’s really big influence on her.”

She hopes new generations will fill the talent gap too. “Once they realize they can defend the country with the skills they have, then that would be great.”

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