National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) is in its fourth week – we’re focusing on the growing cybersecurity field, which offers many rewarding career opportunities for new and seasoned professionals alike. It’s critical for us to grow the cybersecurity workforce as technology becomes more interwoven with our daily lives; the shortage of cybersecurity professionals protecting our extensive networks is a major risk to our economy and security. By drawing more people to careers in protecting the internet, we can start to build stronger defenses.
“We can’t downplay the role a qualified cybersecurity workforce plays in our collective cybersecurity consciousness,” said Patrick Craven, director of the Center for Cyber Safety and Education. “Our research tells us that the cybersecurity workforce gap is on pace to hit 1.8 million by 2022 – a 20% increase since 2015.”
One challenge in growing the cyber workforce is educating young people and established professionals about what a career in the field entails and the great opportunities awaiting them. According to a new study by Raytheon and Forcepoint in partnership with NCSA, young adults most want to learn and use skills like problem solving (58%), communication (55%), management (51%), data analysis (45%) and software programming (33%) in their jobs– all skills that could be extremely beneficial in cybersecurity. These roles can also be rewarding and challenging and offer competitive salaries. Cybersecurity careers are also portable, with the opportunity to work in a variety of industries and locations around the world.
Fortunately, there is some interest in the cybersecurity field from young people, and we hope that efforts will strengthen over time as the need for skilled cyber talent grows. “Last year alone, the Center received 1,000 applicants for its various scholarships,” said Craven. “There are many cybersecurity scholarships available, and most recently the CyberWarrior Scholarship for returning veterans was introduced from the Center for Cyber Safety and Education and Engility. Given the state of cybersecurity threats, we need to ensure these students get what they need to continue their journey. A future without a talented, qualified cybersecurity workforce is unsecure and bleak.”
Interested in protecting the internet in your daily work? Check out these resources to learn more about cybersecurity careers and receive support and training:
- CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service
- CyberPatriot National Youth Cyber Education Program
- CyberSeek Cybersecurity Supply/Demand Heat Map
- GenCyber Summer Cybersecurity Camp for Students and TeachersNational Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework
- National CyberWatch Center
- National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies
Here are a few ways you can participate in NCSAM this week online and in the community.
- Get involved on social media. Use the #CyberAware hashtag in your posts, follow us on Facebook and Twitter and download our sample social media content to share before and during the month.
- Become a NCSAM Champion. Register yourself and/or your organization as a Champion to take action in support of NCSAM and receive materials you can use to spread the word. It’s easy and free to sign up.
- Join our #ChatSTC Twitter chats. Each week, @STOPTHNKCONNECT will host a discussion on a different online safety topic. This Thursday, Oct. 26, at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT, we’ll discuss the benefits and opportunities in the cybersecurity field and how you can prepare for a career in protecting the internet. Use #ChatSTC to join!
For more information on NCSAM and how you can get involved, visit our NCSAM web portal and check out DHS’ STOP. THINK. CONNECT.™ page. We look forward to partnering with you to make this NCSAM the best yet!