Each October, National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM) focuses on the challenges of staying safe online. With an emphasis on awareness for businesses and consumers, NCSAM works to promote a cyber-secure mindset and this year, education is key. It’s important for students, businesses owners, and the government to be aware of how to protect themselves from threats, but what about the people that work to neutralize those aggressors?
This week, the theme of NCSAM is “Millions of Rewarding Jobs: Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity.” With a continuous shortage of cybersecurity professionals and cyber threats becoming more frequent, it’s important that cybersecurity is promoted as a valid career path from elementary school to college. ISACA, an information security group, estimates that there will be a shortage of over two million cybersecurity professionals by 2019. Each year in the United States, over 200,000 cybersecurity-related roles remain unfilled, according to CyberSeek.
Cybersecurity roles offer salaries far above the national average and yet still fail to attract candidates. Women make up only 11 percent of the information security field, and that number hasn’t grown since 2013, according to The 2017 Global Information Workforce study. It’s clear that people of all ages need to be aware of cybersecurity and the viable option to make it a career. From early learning to college, students should not only be taught cyber best practices but how to utilize them in a professional setting.
“This is one area where we are still lagging heavily,” said Meera Rao, senior principal consultant at Synopsys. “We definitely need to do more. We can motivate and inspire young people by talking about cybersecurity at various schools, by conducting free workshops for school students, and through publications highlighting success stories and the bright futures awaiting them in this industry.”
Universities like the University of Maryland and Southern New Hampshire University are already offering cybersecurity degrees both online and in-person. To help promote cybersecurity as a potential career, teachers can help educate children of all ages using these helpful tools from Stay Safe Online.