When you ask high school or college students about their career goals, the chances of them saying that they are interested in pursuing a career in cybersecurity are relatively low. However, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is planning on a massive increase in information security professionals. Those professionals of the near future will be made up of today’s high school students and recent college graduates, making cybersecurity an important pursuit for the younger generations.
The need for individuals trained in cybersecurity grows exponentially each year.
Why is there low interest?
The problem is not really that younger people do not have an interest in cybersecurity. Rather, they simply do not know that careers in the field are a possibility. In fact, Raytheon reported that two-thirds of high school students stated that no teacher or guidance counselor had ever suggested cybersecurity as a potential career path. Furthermore, 69 percent of those students surveyed said they were interested in cybersecurity, but their educational institution did not have courses that would allow them to explore their interest or learn more about the field. Current high school curricula do not include cybersecurity or information technology, and few institutes of higher education offer degree programs in cybersecurity. Therefore, rather than be concerned with low interest, society should work on increasing the opportunity for training and education in this field.
Bringing cybersecurity courses and competitions to younger generations could usher in a new generation of well-trained cybersecurity professionals.
What is being done to improve access to cybersecurity training?
Many technology companies have taken it upon themselves to organize cybersecurity camps and training programs that are geared toward younger generations. Most recently, IBM hosted the Global Cyberlympics, in which students from around the world competed against each other in an “ethical hacking, computer network defense game.” Several universities in the United States have also created competitions that allow teens to test their hacking skills against other techies in their age group. These companies and institutions are hoping to fill that educational gap and provide younger individuals with the resources and industry guidance needed to foster and develop interest and skills in the cybersecurity sector.
In terms of higher education, several universities around the country have incorporated information security into their programs lists. There are even a few hacking competitions for college students, as well. The National Cybersecurity Institute is one of the schools attempting to promote careers in cybersecurity. NCI specializes in training adults in the field of cybersecurity by offering degree programs and certification courses. NCI also focuses on younger students by partnering with online career simulator LifeJourney™ to let teens get a feel for the cybersecurity sector. You can read more about thisdegree programs and certification courses. NCI also focuses on younger students by partnering with online career simulator LifeJourney™ to let teens get a feel for the cybersecurity sector. You can read more here.
Cybersecurity is a thriving field that is in need of individuals who have received training that will allow them to anticipate future cyberthreats and manage data security programs. The hacking competitions directed at the younger generation present a great opportunity to fill the void that the education system has created between students and cybersecurity.
To learn more about cybersecurity, visit the National Cybersecurity Institute’s website. You will have access to blogs written by industry professionals, be able to explore degree programs and listen to podcasts and read case studies on the latest cybersecurity topics.