2018 is already shaping up to be a busy year for the cybersecurity industry. Countries are looking to find a culprit for the WannaCry attacks, organizations who were the victims of cybercrimes in 2017 are working to prepare for fines, government inquiries, and regaining public trust; all while other organizations continue to rapidly expand into the cloud or employ containerization practices, with varying degrees of security applied.
All this and one damning problem still persists: millennials and university students continue to show declining interest in cybersecurity.
In the fall of last year, the fifth annual Securing Our Future: Cybersecurity and the Millennial Workforce study was published. The findings show a generation that is far more aware of the importance of cybersecurity, but who is also losing trust in the cybersecurity industry, with many millennials still believing that they are unqualified to help.
As Security Magazine highlights, “globally, only 38 percent of millennials were more willing to consider a career in cybersecurity than a year ago which is unchanged from last year.” So while the awareness and understanding of the cybersecurity industry is on the rise, (34% of those surveyed in the US said a teacher discussed cybersecurity with them as a career choice, up from only 13% in 2013) the interest in actually pursuing a career continues to be stagnant.
This is something we have noticed in our own research as well. Our 2017 cybersecurity education survey found that US universities have only slightly increased their security education efforts year over year. The fact that more top-tier universities are adding cybersecurity electives or requirements for a degree in computer science or computer engineering is a positive step (and is certainly helping to drive awareness) but more needs to be done.
It’s our hope that in 2018, this awareness will turn into interest, with more young people understanding and seeking a varied career in cybersecurity. After all a career in security offers infinite problem-solving potential. It’s a career for those who eschew the mundane and relish the idea of always being one step ahead of a potential attacker or breach.
And we need all the help we can get. The latest Global Information Security Workforce Study predicts that in five years, the number of unfilled cybersecurity jobs will raise to 1.8 million worldwide. But hey, it’s a new year. Now is the time to take the grim information offered in 2017 and turn it into positive change for our ever-growing industry.