Dark Reading is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Operations

10/26/2015
03:30 PM
Connect Directly
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Millennials Not Pursuing Cybersecurity Careers

Lack of awareness about what cybersecurity jobs entail is widespread worldwide among 18- to 26-year-olds -- especially women -- a new study finds.

Young adults ages 18- to 26 worldwide just aren't flocking to the cybersecurity field, despite the industry's hot job market and talent gap. There's a lack of awareness of cybersecurity career opportunities, and young women are less interested and informed about the field than men, according to a new survey of young adults by Raytheon and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA).

The study indicates that worldwide, women may not be getting the guidance that men get at the secondary and high school levels: 52% of millennial women say cybersecurity programs and activities aren't available to them, while 39% of millennial men said the same. Nearly 50% of the men in the survey were aware of what cybersecurity jobs entail, while just 33% of women in the survey were.

When it comes to interest in the field, 28% more young adults this year said they would likely consider a career that improves Internet security than said so last year, and in the US, fewer women are looking at a career in security, as the gap between young women's interest in the field versus men's interest in the field is five times wider than a year ago.

But 25% of the women who said they were less likely to pursue a career in Internet security now than they were a year ago say they that's because they're not interested in that type of work; 17% of males cited lack of interest. Some 75% of women say their high school and secondary school computer classes did not offer skills for the security field, while 62% of men said the same.

There's apparently a mentor gap as well: 77% of young women in the U.S. say no high school or secondary school or guidance and career counselor talked about cybersecurity as a career, while 67% of men said the same.

On the positive side, some 38% of millenials have competed in cybersecurity contests or looked for internships, scholarships and mentoring programs in cybersecurity. "Young adults say they want careers that use skills required for cyber careers," the report says.

The Raytheon/NCSA report -- which is based on a survey of 4,000 millennials in Australia, Estonia, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Qatar, Republic of Korea, Saudi Arabia, U.K., United Emirates, and the US -- comes on the heels of an (ISC)2 and Booz Allen report that found the number of women in the cybersecurity field has remained static at 10% worldwide. The overall number of women joining the industry is on the rise: it's just that their numbers aren't keeping pace with the overall workforce in the field, according to (ISC)2. Where women have an edge in security is in the governance, risk and compliance (GRC) sector, where one in five women holds a position versus one in eight men, according to the (ISC)2/Booz Allen report.

Findings from both the Raytheon/NCSA and (ISC)2/Booz Allen reports appear to reflect the underlying problem of a scarcity of entry-level cybersecurity positions. That limits young graduates from finding and filling cybersecurity positions. "The requirement for experience for most [jobs] is higher than one would normally require for any entry-level position," Julie Franz, (ISC)2 Foundation director, told Dark Reading last month. "The need is so acute in cyber that it the requirement for someone to hit the ground running is much higher."

The report highlights the challenge of encouraging women and young people to pursue careers in a hot industry where there aren't enough qualified people to fill the job vacancies. "Not only are we missing obvious opportunity to remediate a global shortfall of cybersecurity workers, but we're also seeing the problem compounded by leaving women behind when it comes to cybersecurity education, programs and careers," said Valecia Maclin, program director of cybersecurity and special missions at Raytheon.

It's a matter of better schooling and mentoring this age bracket. Nearly 40% say they want more information about cybersecurity careers. "The survey has shown that millenials would likely pursue a cybersecurity career if they are aware of what the job entails," the study, "Securing Our Future: Closing the Cyber Talent Gap," said.

 

Black Hat Europe returns to the beautiful city of Amsterdam, Netherlands November 12 & 13, 2015. Click here for more information and to register.

Kelly Jackson Higgins is the Executive Editor of Dark Reading. She is an award-winning veteran technology and business journalist with more than two decades of experience in reporting and editing for various publications, including Network Computing, Secure Enterprise ... View Full Bio
 

Recommended Reading:

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Threaded  |  Newest First  |  Oldest First
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
10/26/2015 | 11:13:51 PM
yup
Not that surprising, really.  Security has always been far less of a draw than other cyber roles -- and it's why good security is often lacking in many tools and environments.  Programmers usually want to work with features -- not security.
RyanSepe
50%
50%
RyanSepe,
User Rank: Ninja
10/27/2015 | 8:49:31 AM
Re: yup
Can't really blame programmers for being programmed that way. All kidding aside, the features are the core concept of technology its when we fail to ingrain security with them in the SDLC that we run into issues. But make no mistake, without the features there wouldn't be any security to apply.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2015 | 11:16:06 PM
Re: yup
@Ryan: Certainly, this is why we are now at the point where security must be a consideration right from the beginning -- especially as new technology offers new vulnerabilities.
Kelly Jackson Higgins
50%
50%
Kelly Jackson Higgins,
User Rank: Strategist
10/27/2015 | 9:39:28 AM
Re: yup
I speak to as many college students as I can about the opportunities in cybersecurity. But they all seem to be focused on coding, coding, coding, and few have any knowledge or insight into the security piece of that puzzle, nor the security industry itself. 
JimmyW414
0%
100%
JimmyW414,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/27/2015 | 2:53:15 PM
Re: yup
A big part of work for women is looking for a date. The IT field has the stereotype of being full of male geeks.
Marilyn Cohodas
100%
0%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
10/27/2015 | 3:12:24 PM
Re: yup
I'm not a millennial but I certainly  speak for the vast majority of my female peers whose reason for working in IT has nothing to do with dating!  Think challenging work, good pay, opportunity in a growing field. Ladies, speak up!
Marilyn Cohodas
100%
0%
Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
10/27/2015 | 3:12:35 PM
Re: yup
I'm not a millennial but I certainly  speak for the vast majority of my female peers whose reason for working in IT has nothing to do with dating!  Think challenging work, good pay, opportunity in a growing field. Ladies, speak up!
windycitycassie
50%
50%
windycitycassie,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/28/2015 | 6:20:05 AM
Re: yup
I think that prior post and people like it may be one reason some women don't want to go into the field. I know I've dealt with enough of it in the years I've been in InfoSec.

As for why more millenials (and women?) aren't going into the field... I do think a lot of it has to do with not understanding the various roles available.  There is a place for coding, but also other aspects such as network security, solution design, etc.  It doesn't hurt at all to know about coding, but it's by no means mandatory.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
10/28/2015 | 9:08:15 AM
Re: yup
Kids seem very excited in coding, especially gaming and mobile development.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2015 | 11:19:34 PM
Re: yup
Coding may not be mandatory, but I think we are already arriving at an economy where coding is a huge plus in many fields -- thanks in large part to the proliferation of data science.
techmichelle
50%
50%
techmichelle,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/28/2015 | 10:23:51 AM
Re: yup
Alright :-) This article is pointing out the statistics. It opens the question of why?

Sure its easy to off load the answer as a Dating.  Many girls even with opportunity, support, and being around people in the field do NOT choose to tackle Engineering, Computers, you name it, for a degrees when coming out of high school.  Lots of reason, part of it is social media. 

At one time when the state upped the smoking age and taxes, they used part of the tax money as grants for anti-smoking campaigns. One of the most successful was done by a middle school media club.  The whole school was involved. Posters, articles to TV spots.

Social Media can be turned around, figuring the best way to spend the money? One idea is to offer contests and grants to social media clubs at colleges.

Whistleblower, hacking, court you name it. These issues are harder to tackle yet very important.

How to dress for success, this is such an oh my josh area, this is how I would describe it.

As a child your parents teach you to watch out for cars, then you find out that pedestrians have the right of way, then you realize you might have the right of way but a car is going to kill you.

Free online coding groups have expanded the opportunities. The next step for them is to incorporate certificates and degree programs that lead into paid interships and entry level jobs.  

*** Another issue is lack of opportunities for women already in the workforce.  As groups continue to expand opportunities I hope this part of the issue gets more focus.

 

Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
10/28/2015 | 9:15:59 AM
Re: yup
I doubt that it is about dating. We have not being doing a good job when it comes eduction our kids in a balanced way, we do not give enough attention to our female kids and get their attention to IT world.
fl0w3r
50%
50%
fl0w3r,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/27/2015 | 5:18:35 PM
Re: yup
I didn't know much about security while I was in my university. Most courses weren't focused on it. It wasn't until I saw people using a web debugging proxy to steal digital goods that I was interested. I wasn't about to make a game and have all my work for nothing if people could just not pay for it. So I learned what people do to attack programs. Show them the significance of buffer overflow vulnerabilites, format string vulnerabilities, sql injection, etc, by showing how easy it is to do, and they might listen. I suggest picoctf dot com 2013:Toaster Wars and picoctf dot com 2014. It's a high school ctf, but it teaches what attackers do.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
10/28/2015 | 9:09:52 AM
Re: yup
I see. Security was not that visible and impactful let's say 10 years ago. Recent years all these security bridges created awareness.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
10/30/2015 | 11:28:20 AM
Re: yup
I think we are probably at the point where coding needs to be a part of regular high-school (and/or middle-school) curricula -- allowing for greater specialization at the college level.
David Mudkips
100%
0%
David Mudkips,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/27/2015 | 3:23:34 PM
Re: yup
Not surprising with the heavy handed way young hackers are treated these days, putting them in prison or giving them a criminal record isn't going to encourage a new generation. You don't get any good at cybersecurity without breaking a few laws first.
fl0w3r
50%
50%
fl0w3r,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/27/2015 | 5:09:41 PM
Re: yup
You can learn hacking/pen testing without breaking the laws. That is what Google and capture the flags are made for. Also, set up VM's and have one as the victim and the other as an attacker. Then get books about hacking and practice the techniques with your VM's.
jw13d
50%
50%
jw13d,
User Rank: Apprentice
10/29/2015 | 3:08:52 PM
Re: yup
You are quite mistaken. Good security skills require a foundation in system and network administration. If you aren't good at building systems and networks, you won't be good at protecting them (security). The hactivists that are getting the heavy handed treatment that you speak of don't generally have those fundamentals and are just breaking things. It is fundamentally easier to break things than to create them, but that doesn't give you the skills to be a good cybersecurity person.

Personally, I view the cybersecurity team as the masters program with system and network administration/engineering being the associates/bachelor level programs. I don't encourage anyone to jump straight to security but to enter administration and engineering with security in mind and cross over to security once you have the fundamentals down.
geriatric
100%
0%
geriatric,
User Rank: Moderator
10/27/2015 | 10:09:43 AM
Focus on the Solution
Invariably in these discussions, the gender gap is seen as some sort of problem that needs fixed. But why must we refuse the response of many women who say "I'm just not interested" without the reply being "But we have to find some way to MAKE you interested!". There's nothing inherently deficient about preferring one choice over another. Instead, focus on the characteristics that make for an effective cybersecurity professional, and target those individuals, regardless of irrelevant categories like race, gender, religion, sexual orientation or political party.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
10/28/2015 | 9:30:30 AM
Re: Focus on the Solution
As long as we can educate our female students and attract their attention to IT, they will find their way up. It starts form bottom.
Joe Stanganelli
50%
50%
Joe Stanganelli,
User Rank: Ninja
10/29/2015 | 11:18:02 PM
Re: Focus on the Solution
Unfortunately, many parents are still hardcore reinforcing strict gender roles with the way children are raised that the issues go deeper than simple education.
Dr.T
50%
50%
Dr.T,
User Rank: Ninja
10/28/2015 | 9:06:03 AM
Not exciting maybe?
Although hacking is attractive Security is not exciting in general, that ,as be the reason for it.
News
FluBot Malware's Rapid Spread May Soon Hit US Phones
Kelly Sheridan, Staff Editor, Dark Reading,  4/28/2021
Slideshows
7 Modern-Day Cybersecurity Realities
Steve Zurier, Contributing Writer,  4/30/2021
Commentary
How to Secure Employees' Home Wi-Fi Networks
Bert Kashyap, CEO and Co-Founder at SecureW2,  4/28/2021
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Video
Cartoon Contest
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you today!
Flash Poll
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
How Enterprises are Developing Secure Applications
Recent breaches of third-party apps are driving many organizations to think harder about the security of their off-the-shelf software as they continue to move left in secure software development practices.
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2021-32094
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) Emissary 5.9.0 allows an authenticated user to upload arbitrary files.
CVE-2021-32095
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) Emissary 5.9.0 allows an authenticated user to delete arbitrary files.
CVE-2021-32096
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
The ConsoleAction component of U.S. National Security Agency (NSA) Emissary 5.9.0 allows a CSRF attack that results in injecting arbitrary Ruby code (for an eval call) via the CONSOLE_COMMAND_STRING parameter.
CVE-2021-32098
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
Artica Pandora FMS 742 allows unauthenticated attackers to perform Phar deserialization.
CVE-2021-32099
PUBLISHED: 2021-05-07
A SQL injection vulnerability in the pandora_console component of Artica Pandora FMS 742 allows an unauthenticated attacker to upgrade his unprivileged session via the /include/chart_generator.php session_id parameter, leading to a login bypass.