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4 Reasons Millennials are Overlooking Cyber Security Careers

With some record-breaking and headline-grabbing cyber security breaches in 2015, security is top of mind for a large part of the population.

However, if you ask millennials (people ages 18 to 26) how they view cyber security, you might get a different perspective. For this group of young adults – many of whom are about to enter the workforce – cyber security isn’t all that notable and it’s not career path they’re interested in.

An October 2015 survey of millennials, conducted by Raytheon and the National Cybersecurity Alliance, took a deeper look at millennials’ attitudes toward cyber security careers. After polling young adults in 12 countries about their interest level and perception toward the field, the survey offers some helpful insights into cyber security recruitment barriers, and points to some key takeaways for solving this global problem.

According to the report, there are four main contributing factors in millennials’ lagging interest in cyber careers:

  1. Low awareness in schools. A majority of respondents (62%) indicated that no teacher or guidance counselor mentioned cyber security as a possible career path. And only 31% indicated that they were given coursework that would help prepare them for the career path.
  1. Overconfidence. A majority of the individuals interviewed (65%) believe they have the ability to keep themselves safe online. Yet 44% of those who experienced a cyber attack did not change their behavior in response.
  1. Lack of engagement. Security breaches may be showing up in the headlines, but they don’t seem to be reaching young adults’ social media feeds. Sixty-two percent of survey respondents hadn’t heard about a cyber attack in the past year.
  1. A wide gender gap. The survey’s findings re-confirmed that there is a serious gender gap in cyber security, and it’s one that’s continuing with the millennial generation. In the U.S., 36% of surveyed women expressed disinterest in cyber security as a career path, compared to 12% of men. More women than men felt they were unqualified for cyber security programs and courses, and women were more likely to report that no teacher or guidance counselor mentioned the career track.

Clearly, younger generations need more exposure to the field of cyber security. Courses that offer hands-on experience with analysis and problem-solving can go a long way, as can career opportunities for young people to interact with real-world cyber security professionals.

The risks presented by cyber crime are enormous — threatening businesses, government agencies and individuals alike. As such, the need to train, attract and retain the next generation of cyber security professionals is greater than ever.

The Lunarline School of Cyber Security offers opportunities for professionals of all levels to learn cyber security principles in a way that’s hands-on and interactive. For more information on the courses and certifications we offer and our approach to education, visit SchoolofCyberSecurity.com or contact us today.

About Spence Witten

Spence has somehow survived ten years at start-ups and small businesses without suffering a (major) nervous breakdown. As Lunarline's Director of Federal Sales, Spence actually loves working on proposals. If there were any doubt, this is proof that he is in fact certifiably insane. While his title says "Sales" Lunarline doesn't let him off that easy. We make him do real work, too. Luckily he's a recognized subject matter expert in security policy and loves helping clients navigate their way around tricky security compliance standards. He's also been known to lead a software development initiative or two, though that pretty much always ends poorly for everyone involved. He can be reached at spence.witten@lunarline.com.