New study says millennials don't dig cybersecurity as a career path
Mamas, your babies don't want to grow up to fight cybercrime. It's not that they'd rather be doctors and lawyers and such — despite a sheen of old school glamour and the lingering whiff of financial stability, those professions are only of comparable interest to resisting the depradations of hackers and devising new means of securing networks and data. At a time when businesses and governments are desperate to shore up sieve-like digital infrastructure and reduce the exposure to criminal activity of consumers and citizens, however, millennials apparently just aren't that interested in answering the call.
Such are the recently released findings of a survey conducted by tech firm Raytheon and the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). Timed to coincide with National Cyber Security Awareness Month (October), Preparing Millennials to Lead in Cyberspace is the second annual report from the partnership of Raytheon and the NCSA, which conducted a similar study last year. According to the report, demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing 3.5 times faster than demand in the overall IT job market, and 12 times faster than demand across all careers. Cybersecurity positions are also harder to fill than other jobs, taking roughly 36 percent longer to fill than jobs of any other type.
There are doubtless a myriad of reasons why cybersecurity jobs go from "ripe for the picking" to "rotting on the ground," but lack of interest from young adults ages 18 through 26 could be a big contributor. The Raytheon-NCSA report found that the most sought-after profession among that demographic is "app designer/developer," closely followed by "entrepreneur" and "entertainer (TV, movies, etc.)." Even knowing that we can't all be Steve Jobs or Taylor Swift, however, kids still aren't jumping at the cybersecurity apple. "Social media professional," "computer software engineer," "journalist/writer" and even "scientist" are more attractive job titles than "finger-wagging pencil-neck from the IT department."
The Raytheon-NCSA report did find that part of the reticence to embrace cybersecurity may result from a lack of information. Roughly 68 percent of those surveyed said they don't know what cybersecurity professionals actually do, and 48 percent guessed that more specific information about job responsibilities would make them more likely to consider a job in the field. (On the other hand, 22 percent said that "nothing" would make them more likely to consider a cybersecurity career, and a peer-conscious 12 percent admitted that they might be more intrigued if their friends thought cybersecurity was a "cool" career path.)
A few job titles are on equal footing with cybersecurity. The survey found a roughly equivalent level of interest in "doctor," "nurse" and "lawyer." And whatever young audiences may have thought of Martin Scorsese's 2013 adventures-in-investing dramedy The Wolf Of Wall Street, careers in high finance apparently don't have the allure that they once did. "Wall Street analyst" drew more interest than "elected official" (sorry, politicians), but lagged sinificantly behind "college professor."
A total of 1,000 young adults ages 18 through 26 were surveyed for the Raytheon-NCSA report.