Female millennials present ‘industry’s best chance’ to overcome security skills gap

Millennials and women may be key to overcoming the worsening cyber security skills shortage, according to a new survey of tech-savvy millennials and post-millennials in the U.S.

The data from security firm ProtectWise shows that 68 percent of those questioned classify themselves as either a technology innovator (27 percent) or early adopters of technology (41 percent).

Most said they are interested in computer-related careers, such as video game development, computer sciences/software development, engineering, scientific research, information technology and cyber security.

Forty-eight percent of respondents had been part of a STEM program during their K-12 education, and most wanted to study or were studying computer engineering for their college major.

Despite this, most millennials said they don’t know any cyber security professionals and that they haven’t had the opportunity to learn about cyber security. Sixty-nine percent of respondents had never taken a class in school that focused on cyber security, with 65 percent saying their school never offered courses.

As a result, only nine percent of respondents initially indicated that cyber security “is a career they are interested in pursuing at some point in their lives”.

However, the survey found that female millennials may present “the industry’s best chance” to overcome the security skills shortage.

Although they are still battling the perception that women are not as suited to certain careers, those surveyed for the report said they game online as frequently as their male counterparts, and the same number of women are early adopters of technology as men – more so around virtual reality.

Two computer-related careers held male and female interests nearly equally: video game development and cyber security. In fact, 57 percent of female respondents said they found careers in cyber security exciting, compared to 40 percent of males.

“Based on responses provided by the people surveyed, the cyber security industry must take a proactive stance in creating awareness and providing early learning opportunities,” James Condon, threat research and analysis team lead at ProtectWise, wrote in a blog post.

“Companies can choose to support after-school cyber security clubs or help to develop and implement actual cyber security [curricula] for high school – there is a multitude of ways to help develop tomorrow’s security pro.”

Source: Channelnomics

Written by: Christine Horton

8th May 2018