Cybersecurity experts are aware that the current job shortage will continue to grow over the upcoming years.
Current job postings for cybersecurity openings have grown three times as fast as openings for IT jobs, taking longer for companies to fill cybersecurity positions than other IT jobs according to the Job Market Intelligence: Cybersecurity Jobs in 2015 report by Burning Glass Technologies.
Several schools starting from elementary to college in the U.S. are beginning to integrate cybersecurity programs into their curriculum in order to capture student’s interest in computer science and cybersecurity at an early age.
While raising up skilled cybersecurity professionals, organizations and companies are also trying to decrease the minority gaps in the cybersecurity field.
Statistics show that both African-Americans and Latinos account for barely over a fraction of cybersecurity positions. The 2014 Labor Department statistics show that only 9.7 percent of information security analysts are African-American and 6.1 percent are Latino with the broader workforce is 11.4 percent African-American and 16.1 percent Latino.
Women of all ethnicities make up 10 percent of the information security workforce, according to the New America 2015 Decrypting the Cybersecurity’s Gender Gap Report.
The cybersecurity field is missing out on a huge pool of talent if they don’t prioritize reaching out, mentoring and providing the needed resources for these unrepresented groups.
The Decrypting the Cybersecurity’s Gender Gap Report states that without women alone, the cybersecurity industry will dismiss a major talent pool of 1.5 million over the next five years.
An introduction and exposure to computer science subjects and cybersecurity at an early age can majorly influence a youth’s decision to pursue a career in either of those fields. A College Board 2007 Research Report shows that women who take AP Computer Science in high school are 10 times more likely to major in computer science, while black and Hispanic students are 7-8 times more likely.
Organizations across the country are noting these statistics and working to encourage and include all groups in the world of cybersecurity. Read on to learn about three groups that provide women and minorities access and exposure to the cybersecurity world.
In Tift County Georgia, over 28 percent of children have no access to technology or the internet at their home. WeSparkIT is launching its first Computing Camp and reaching out to 100 Tift County middle school and high school students.
During this one week program, all students learn HTML & web programming, cybersecurity encryption & decryption activation, and MIT’s scratch visual programming language.
Professionals in the cybersecurity and tech field drop in and talk to the students about their fields and explain the obstacles, achievements, and excitements they’ve encountered while working in the tech industry.
WeSparklT organizers hope to instill a newfound sense of confidence and passion in their students for their potential computer science careers.
For more information, go to wesparkit.org.
Metropolitan Education District
Established in 1917, Metro Ed, the Santa Clara County career-oriented educational organization offers high school and adult career technical, academic, and community programs.
Partnerships with tech and cybersecurity leaders like Apple, Cisco, Symantec and Xilinx, Metro Ed has created a substantial STEM program to educate and equip over 11,5000 diverse students for science, technology, math and engineering careers.
This year, the California Community College Chancellor’s Office awarded a $921,000 grant to Metro Ed in order to expand their cybersecurity program.
A portion of the grant will be used to launch the CYBER Pirates Summer STEM Academy, a two-week program where students learn the basics of cybersecurity like coding, encryption, and programming, using Arduino boards.
For more information about other cybersecurity opportunities offered at Metro E,d go to MetroED.com.
Savvy Cyber Kids
Savvy Cyber Kids is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that is dedicated to educating the youngest internet and tech users.
Creating cybersecurity curriculum for children in preschool through kindergarten, Savvy Cyber Kids aims to teach kids how to safely use and navigate the internet.
A report conducted family advocacy organization, Common Sense Media, 72 percent of children have used a smartphone, tablet or similar device by the age of 2.
Savvy Cyber Kids creates workbooks, activity sheets, and lesson plans and partners with schools and organizations, like the Department of Homeland Security, to help instill safe internet habits early on.
To learn more about Savvy Cyber Kids and sign up to access their resources, visit savvycyberkids.org or watch the founder Ben Halpert’s TED Talk.