Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity


As part of raising awareness during National Cybersecurity Awareness Month (NCSAM), each week in October we will feature a topic centered around the theme “our shared responsibility.”  This week we feature the growing need for cybersecurity professionals, and how to promote cybersecurity as a career path.

There will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021.

A key risk to our economy and security continues to be the shortage of cybersecurity professionals to safeguard our ever-expanding cyber ecosystem. Raising the next generation of interested and capable cybersecurity professionals is a starting point to building stronger defenses. There are limitless opportunities to educate students of all ages – from high school into higher education and beyond – on the field of cybersecurity as they consider their options. In addition, veterans and individuals who are looking for a new career or reentering the workforce should explore the multitude of well-paying and rewarding jobs available.

Statistics: Building the Cybersecurity Workforce

  • Cybersecurity job forecasts have been unable to keep pace with the dramatic rise in cybercrime, which is predicted to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021, up from $3 trillion in 2015. [1.]
  • The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts a steep 28% growth rate for cybersecurity positions between 2016 and 2026 — that’s 300% higher than the prediction for all occupations. Moreover, Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity job openings by 2021. [2.]
  • The median salary for information security analyst was $95,510 in 2017. That’s above the $84,580 average for other computer-related positions and well more than twice the national median salary for all U.S. jobs ($37,690). [3.]
  • 40% of millennials internationally say that their parents are a primary source for career advice and 57% of millennials are confident in their parents’ ability to guide them in pursuing a cybersecurity career.  [4.]
  • From 2013 to 2017, the number of U.S. teachers who talked to their students about cybersecurity careers tripled. [5.]

#CyberAware Tips for Parents, Teachers and Industry Professionals

Volunteer at school, an after-school program, Boys & Girls Club, or community workshops to teach kids about online safety and cybersecurity careers. Check out NCSA’s online safety resources for ideas on what topics to cover and materials you can use.

Expose students to opportunities in the field of cybersecurity by hosting an open house at your company to talk about what your cybersecurity department does.

Work with your schools or community-based organizations to create an internship program for hands-on learning.

Inspire students to learn about cybersecurity by mentoring a team in a cyber challenge or hosting events and after-school programs. Check out CyberPatriot, the national youth cyber education program created to inspire students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines.

As a parent, learn about the “educational steps” to a career in cybersecurity and about community organizations that host cyber camps to educate kids about internet safety and security. Visit GenCyber for information on cyber camps held across the country. And check out NCSA’s Parent Primer for Guiding Kids to Careers in Cybersecurity.

Useful Resources:





[4.] Raytheon, Forcepoint and NCSA “Securing Our Future: Cybersecurity and the Millennial Workforce” survey


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