Election Boosts Cybersecurity Interest Among Millennials

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With increasing prevalence of cyber-attacks, young adults are not only aware of cyber security, but also have become interested in pursuing a career in the industry.

Awareness of cyber-attacks in the run-up to the U.S. presidential election helped grow the number of young adults more likely to pursue a career in cybersecurity, according to Securing Our Future: Closing the Cybersecurity Talent Gap, a new survey commissioned by Raytheon, a provider of cybersecurity solutions, and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

As a press release from Raytheon notes, the survey found that:

  • In the U.S., the number of young adults who say they have read or heard a news account of cyber attacks within the last year nearly doubled from 36% in 2015 to 64% in 2016
  • In the U.S., 53% of young adults say a political candidate’s position on cybersecurity impacts their level of support for that candidate, including 60% of men and 47% of women
  • In the U.S., 50% of young adults don’t think cybersecurity has been a big enough part of the discussion leading up to the presidential election
  • Globally, 59% of men, up from 43% in 2015, reported receiving formal cyber safety lessons,compared to 51% of women, an increase from 40% a year ago
  • Globally, 54% of young men, up from 46% in 2015, said they were aware of the job tasks involved in the cybersecurity profession, compared to just 36% of young women, an increase from 33% last year
  • Globally, 37% of young adults (34% in the U.S.) are more likely than a year ago to consider a career to make the Internet safer, compared to 28% in 2015 (26% in the U.S.)

“Millennials see hacktivists breaking into computer systems and threatening our economy,” said Dave Wajsgras, president of Raytheon’s Intelligence, Information and Services business. “If we can show young men and women a clear path to careers in cybersecurity, we can make real progress in eliminating the serious cyber talent shortage and making our country more secure.”

Raytheon and NCSA released the latest results from its annual cyber study during the 13th annual National Cyber Security Awareness Month, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and NCSA each October. Zogby Analytics conducted the survey of 3,800 young adults aged 18-26 across four global regions. The goal was to identify the root causes of the cyber talent gap as part of a shared long-term commitment to building a robust talent pipeline.

“When it comes to guidance for pursuing cybersecurity careers, young adults say parents are the most influential figure in shaping their career choices, but most millennials don’t believe their parents are prepared to help them pursue a career in cybersecurity,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance. “As parents, leaders and educators we need to better communicate the opportunities in the cybersecurity field and help guide students to them.”

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