Why aren’t more people choosing cybersecurity as a career?

Q:

Why aren’t more people choosing cybersecurity as a career?

A:

It's a big question – all over the IT industry, cybersecurity professionals are very much in demand. Companies need help circling the wagons, protecting trade secrets and sensitive data sets, and locking down systems to keep out records of hackers and repel black hat efforts.

So why aren't people moving toward this type of job role? (Read The Truth About Cybersecurity.)

One of the most basic reasons for the shortage of cybersecurity people is the nature of the job. It depends on understanding algorithms, and that means learning quite a bit of mathematics.

That's not something that the American education system currently churns out students for in droves. There's quite a bit of pushback in the average American school by the students against learning the kinds of in-depth technical skills that are going to help them succeed in cybersecurity.

Then there's also a lack of formal job training. Up until recently, cybersecurity was not a very active training field, and the result is that some of the best cybersecurity people around have largely unrelated degrees in data science or something else. (Read Job Role: Data Scientist.)

Now, there are training programs emerging, but it seems that in some ways, it's too little, too late — there just don't seem to be enough trained and educated people with the skill sets to tackle cybersecurity for companies.

In general, you could say that a skills gap is the major culprit. There are also worker shortages in fields like electrical work, plumbing, and heating, cooling and air conditioning. Cybersecurity is like those other things, but even more targeted and specific in the skill sets that it requires. That's a major reason why there just aren't enough cybersecurity people to go around.

One of the best solutions would be aggressive job training platforms that make it clear the trajectory from certificate completion to gainful employment, because cybersecurity experts really do make quite a lot of money on average.

Awareness seems to be a driver, and fully preparing a new generation for the technical side could help to get more applicants in the door.

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Written by Justin Stoltzfus
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Justin Stoltzfus is a freelance writer for various Web and print publications. His work has appeared in online magazines including Preservation Online, a project of the National Historic Trust, and many other venues.
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