New program opens doors to cyber careers for students
October 25, 2017
Protecting Our Interconnected Society
October 30, 2017

Building a highly skilled cyber security workforce is arguably one of them most important tasks our nation should be focusing on. Almost weekly we see news stories covering cyber-attacks that result in compromised passwords, credit card numbers, and personally identifiable information. In fact, one of the worst incidents in the history of cyber-attacks happened this last July but wasn’t made public until last month: the Equifax security breach of 2017. This attack resulted in the theft of names, addresses, social security numbers, and birth dates and affected approximately 50% of Americans. Clearly the lack of a highly skilled cybersecurity workforce is detrimental to our society. This is why the internet wants you to consider a career in cybersecurity.

Historically, cybersecurity professionals learned many skills on the job because security wasn’t always taught in K-12 or college. However, now many universities offer degree programs dedicated to training cybersecurity specialists through computer science and cyber engineering programs. NICERC, in partnership with the universities and the Department of Homeland security, has been able to bring content from these training programs to K-12 schools across the United States.

While NICERC’s initiatives have been successful, it will take all of us to prepare for the future needs in cybersecurity employment. There are currently many openings in the field and the Bureau of Labor Statistics expects an 18% growth in the field from 2014-2024, which they consider to be much faster than the average growth of all jobs. With cybersecurity specialists in high demand, the job comes with many perks, such as a median pay of $92,600.

Steps to begin a career in cybersecurity:

  1. Prepare for a degree program in the field. NICERC’s curricula is an excellent way for K-12 students to “get their feet wet” on cybersecurity topics.
  2. Earn a bachelor’s degree since many employers require a bachelor’s degree for applicants to be considered for hire. Consider a program dedicated to cybersecurity, computer science, or cyber engineering.
  3. Complete any additional training that could be beneficial to have on the job. For example, many companies require their employees to complete certifications. Having a few certifications will help with entering the field, however, many employees also provide on the job training that can result in additional certifications.

To gain access to NICERC’s free cybersecurity curriculum and more, click here.