Debate: More guidance on security career opportunities

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In this month's debate, experts discuss whether more guidance on security career opportunities for youths will alleviate the skills gap.

FOR

Jeffery Jacoby, director, cybersecurity and special missions, intelligence, information and services, Raytheon

President Obama points to cyber security as one of the most serious economic and national security challenges for our nation. Meanwhile, a new study reveals young adults are not being steered toward careers in the cyber domain.

The same survey revealed risky cyber behaviors among digital natives. Almost one-fourth shared a password with non-family members in the past year, while more than half logged onto public Wi-Fi in the last month. 

This apparent lack of awareness creates vulnerability in a generation that finds itself always connected. As the cyber security field expands, with network systems and information security job opportunities expected to grow by 53 percent through 2018, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's critical to develop a cyber-workforce capable of securing our nation's economic interests in an economy driven by the digital age. Millennials must be educated on the cyber threat and available career opportunities to alleviate the skills gap.

CON

Mike Rothman, analyst & president, Securosis 

It's a bad idea to try to get kids excited about security early on. I have seen far too many young people flock to security because of the sheer number of job opportunities. They aren't with us long. In fact they hate it. 

Selling young people an idealized vision of security doesn't do anyone any good. It sets a false expectation and creates disappointment. That doesn't mean we can just hope young people of the right personality type and talent magically end up in security. Hope is not a strategy. We should be espousing the cool things young people can do in technology. Especially young girls – the gender gap is obvious and needs to be addressed. In order to do security effectively, you need a deep understanding of technology anyway. Let them start there. And then, if they have the competence and personality to do security, grab them.

Glamorizing an unglamorous job will not help us. It just puts you in a position where you have to train a bunch of folks, only to have them later realize security isn't for them.


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