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Survey: Most Americans Not Exposed to Cybersecurity in K-12

Survey: Most Americans Not Exposed to Cybersecurity in K-12

As National Cybersecurity Awareness Month comes to a close this week, a newly released survey indicates that the growing field is severely lacking the resources to have a presence in K-12 education.

According to The National Cyber Security Alliance, the need for cybersecurity experts is growing at three and half times a higher rate than the overall IT job market, but that there simply aren’t enough qualified candidates to fill the jobs.

Part of this lack of a cyber workforce can be contributed to the fact that American students simply aren’t being exposed to the field in K-12 education.

A study released by NCSA in partnership with Raytheon has found that”67 percent of men and 77 percent of women in the U.S. said no high school or secondary school teacher, guidance or career counselor ever mentioned the idea of a cybersecurity career and 61 percent are unaware or unsure of the typical range of responsibilities involved in a cyber career.”

Fortunately, the survey found that despite a lack of resources, students did not display a lack of interest in the field.

"Young adults want careers that require skills cyber professionals use: 44 percent - problem solving, 36 percent - data analysis, 27 percent - programming, 42 percent - management,” the report found.

And despite a lack of K-12 resource availability, 31 percent of U.S. students said they sought out cyber opportunities through internships, scholarships and mentoring programs.

In order to help individuals encourage students' interest in cybersecurity, the NCSA has developed several suggestions for getting involved:

  • Volunteer at school, after-school, or community programs to teach children about online safety and cybersecurity careers using lesson plans and materials provided by NCSA.
  • If you work in cybersecurity, host an open house in your department to expose students to opportunities in the field.
  • Work with school/community organizations to create an internship program in cybersecurity for your community.
  • If you’re a parent, inform yourself about the steps it takes to pursue a career in cybersecurity to help inspire your child.

Another great way to immediately get involved in raising cybersecurity awareness is to participate in the Twitter Chat #ChatSTC on October 29 from 3-4 p.m. EDT. The chat will cover "what it means to be a cyber professional, share tips for students and professionals looking to get into the field and discuss how to prepare to join the cybersecurity workforce."

Read more about the NCSA and Raytheon survey here.

Article by Nicole Gorman, Education World Contributor


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