Parents and teachers can help kids prepare for future lifelong careers in cybersecurity

Parents and teachers can help kids prepare for future lifelong careers in cybersecurity

On March 21st, 2018 Carmen Marsh of Inteligenca and I hosted the #includecybersecuritychat on Twitter. These chats are a public conversation on how individuals and organizations can increase inclusion and encourage diversity in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity jobs now affect the public safety of every developed nation. Our questions started with a quick look back before we focused our discussion on the future.

Q1. What does your career path look like? Did you study computer science or did you move into cybersecurity from a different field?

Participants in our chat came from non-traditional backgrounds. Job applications for cybersecurity roles frequently cite four-year degrees and various industry certifications besides prior experience, but our participants showed that these are nice-to-haves, and rarely mandatory to break into cybersecurity jobs.

Q2. Do you think you will remain in #cybersecurity until you retire or will you try something else?

Responses to this question were insightful. The common advice is that college-age adults will change careers multiple times over the course of their working life. Although the types of cybersecurity work are still evolving, all participants planned on remaining in this exciting field until retirement at the earliest.

Q3. What can parents, teachers & orgs do to grow interest in cybersecurity jobs & prepare people to fill these roles?

The future generation of cybersecurity protectors are in elementary schools across the world. We need to move past 11% representation by women in cybersecurity roles and increase diversity in cybersecurity. Participants suggested encouraging teachers and parents to talk about and teach cybersecurity, and that individuals should give back to their community.

Q4. What can businesses do to promote cybersecurity in their communities?

Our final question from the chat considered what steps current employers can take to help build the next workforce for cybersecurity. There are between 1.8m and 5.5m cybersecurity jobs predicted to be unfilled by 2021, and participants suggested how businesses and organizations could help shrink that gap.

Thanks to all everyone who took part in our engaging and insightful public debate.

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