The widespread dependence on cyberspace and the Internet of Things has pushed almost every aspect of our society to succumb to the double-edged sword of technology.
Wherever you look there are people on their smartphones swiping away online; homes are accumulating features and gadgets that can extract crucial information and data from your everyday life; and companies and businesses rely on connected network systems to transmit confidential files from one location, system or device to another. Everything seems to be conveniently connected in a diversely entangled and infinite web.
But alongside the gift of technological convenience come cyber threats. Ask any member of the information technology community and you will hear countless stories of spikes in data breaches in recent years. These global, digital attacks have forced homes and companies to increase vigilance when it comes to cybersecurity and their activities online.
As with any defense mechanism, the field of cybersecurity education came into being in response to the call of the times. In essence, cybersecurity education fosters learning of online safety protocols and regulatory and defense mechanisms to counter and anticipate attacks in the cyber world.
Since its debut, cybersecurity education has been branching out into numerous domains and specialties to cater to almost anything you might need in terms of security and protection in the digital world. Yet, while the existence of cybersecurity education has come a long way, there is still room for improvement.
Even now, cybersecurity education leaves industry leaders – from corporate enterprises to government agencies – with a need for more cybersecurity professionals to bridge the ever-widening skills gap.
Fortunately, industry leaders can take steps to help influence growth in the field.
- Foster better academic involvement. By placing further emphasis on teaching cybersecurity education as an integrated concept to computer science and other related fields, industry leaders can help schools devise better course offerings that are aligned with real-world scenarios. Similarly, they can help spur the interest of prospective cybersecurity professionals by reaching out to the student population through activities with schools and other educational institutions.
- Offer more opportunities for applied knowledge. Aside from improving the theoretical aspect of cybersecurity education, industry leaders can also improve the hands-on learning experience for both undergraduates and graduates in the field. Offering more paid internships, immersive and simulated training, mentoring programs and other similar resources can greatly enhance education and cybersecurity talent.
- Increase investments towards cybersecurity education modernization. The field of cybersecurity involves extensive and continuous investment when it comes to developing, testing and perfecting the technology it uses. As such, industry leaders can contribute by investing in research and development efforts. Because the threats that plague our digital world are ever-evolving and unpredictable, funding these efforts can help modernize cybersecurity education.
Ultimately, education is key when it comes to cybersecurity. As threats to online systems and devices increase in volume, intensity and complexity, the need for more cybersecurity professionals continues to rise.
However, with the current state of cybersecurity education, much of its potential has yet to be uncovered. As such, industry leaders in search of talented, skilled employees need to meet the students and the schools halfway if the cybersecurity field is to grow.
By fostering better academic involvement, industry leaders can entice more students and awaken their interest in cybersecurity. Here, they can emphasize an integrated and realistic approach to help students identify and prepare for upcoming risks they may encounter in future roles. When industry leaders offer more hands-on opportunities – such as internships, mentorship programs and other similar methods of training – they help improve cybersecurity education by giving students a chance to put theoretical concepts into practice. In the same manner, industry leaders investing in continuous education and modernization of cybersecurity education are keeping undergraduates and graduates alike up to date with the latest technological trends and mitigation strategies.
All in all, if industry leaders step up to aid students attain and practice knowledge related to cybersecurity, as well as pave way for continuous learning and improvement in the field, they can help improve cybersecurity education and reap the rewards of their contribution.
Originally from the U.S., Rana Tarakji is the founder of One SEO, author of Off-site SEO guide: A Hands-On SEO Tutorial For Beginners & Dummies and a web content specialist who now lives in Beirut, Lebanon. Rana’s work has appeared in a wide range of publications in print and online, including Life Hacker, Upwork, Christian Today, Newswire and many other outlets.