Have You Talked to Your Kids About a Career in Cybersecurity?
Here’s some cool trivia for you: What profession currently has a zero-percent unemployment rate, pays an average of $116,000 a year, and is among the top in-demand jobs in the world? A lawyer? A pharmacist? A finance manager, perhaps?
Nope. The job we’re talking about is a cybersecurity specialist and, because of the increase in cyber attacks around the world, these professionals are highly employable.
According to numbers from the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, a career in cybersecurity is one of the most in-demand, high-paying professions today with an average salary of $116,000, or approximately $55.77 per hour. That’s nearly three times the national median income for full-time wage and salary workers. How’s that for job security?
Why is the demand so high? Sadly, because there are a lot of black hats (bad guys) out there who want our data — our user IDs, passwords, social security numbers, and credit card numbers. Every month it seems banks, hospitals, and major corporations are reporting security breaches, which has put the global cybersecurity talent an estimated deficit of two million professionals.
It’s exciting to see gifts and passions emerge in our kids as they grow and mature. If a child is good at math and sciences, we might point them toward some the medical field. If they a child shows an affinity in English and communication skills, maybe a law, teaching, or media career is in their future.
But what about a cybersecurity expert? Have you noticed any of these skills in your kids?
Flexible/creative problem solving
Collaborative, team player
A sense of duty, justice
Works well under pressure
Curious and perceptive
Technology/tech trend fan
Verbal and written communications
Most jobs in cybersecurity require a four-year bachelor’s degree in cybersecurity or a related field such as information technology or computer science. Students take coursework in programming and statistics, ethics, and computer forensics, among other courses.
First, if your child has some of the skills/personality traits mentioned, how do you start directing him or her toward this field? The first place to begin is in the home. Model smart cybersecurity habits. Talk about digital safety, the importance of protecting personal data and the trends in cybercrimes. In short, model and encourage solid digital citizenship and family security practices.
Second, bring up the possibility, or plant the seed. Be sure to encourage both boys and girls equally. Help your child find answers to his or her questions about careers in computer and data science, threat research, engineering and information on jobs such as cybersecurity analyst, vulnerability analyst, and penetration tester.
Third, read and share takeaways from the Winning The Game a McAfee report that investigates the key challenges facing the IT Security industry and the possible teen gaming link to a successful cybersecurity career.
CyberCompEx. A connection point for everything cybersecurity including forums, groups, news, jobs, and competition information.
CyberCorps® Scholarship for Service. SFS is a program providing scholarships and stipends to undergraduate and graduate students studying cybersecurity at participating institutions. Great for those who want to work in government.
CyberPatriot. This site is created by the Air Force Association (AFA) to inspire K-12 students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM).
GenCyber. This is a summer cybersecurity camp for K-12 students and teachers that focuses on inspiring kids to direct their talents toward cybersecurity skills and closing the security skills gap.
National CyberWatch Center. The National CyberWatch Center is a consortium of higher education institutions, public and private businesses, and government agencies focused on advancing cybersecurity education and strengthening the workforce.
National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies. NICCS provides information on cybersecurity training, formal education, and workforce development.
National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education. NICE is an initiative to energize and promote a robust network and an ecosystem of cybersecurity education, cybersecurity careers, training, and workforce development.
*Resource list courtesy of Stay Safe Online.
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