America’s High Schools Aren’t Encouraging Enough Students To Become Cyberspies

A new survey from defense giant Raytheon found 82% of respondents never had high school teachers or guidance counselors tell them about possible jobs in cybersecurity.

America’s High Schools Aren’t Encouraging Enough Students To Become Cyberspies
[Image: Flickr user evmaiden]

One of America’s biggest defense contractors says high schools are failing to steer students toward jobs in cybersecurity. A new survey by Raytheon and Zogby Analytics found that, out of a thousand 18- to 26-year-olds, 82% were never told in high school they could pursue cybersecurity jobs. The study added that, “as career opportunities in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields intersect with those in the cyber realm, the demand for students and young professionals in these burgeoning fields shows no signs of waning. In fact, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, network systems and information security professionals can expect job opportunities to grow by 53 percent through 2018.” In other words: Cybersecurity and cyberdefense are big job growth areas and high schools aren’t keeping up.

A surprisingly high amount of respondents–24%–said they would like to pursue careers as cybersecurity professionals. By comparison, 39% want to be entrepreneurs and 17% want to be “Wall Street analysts.” The study also found a massive gender gap for information security jobs: 35% of male respondents considered careers in cybersecurity, while only 14% of female respondents did. Other portions of the survey revealed what we already know: Most 18- to 26-year-olds are awful at online privacy and security.

Raytheon provides crucial cybersecurity support to the U.S. government, military, and many private clients (especially in finance and public utilities). The study was commissioned to mark National Cyber Security Awareness Month, which is sponsored by the Department of Homeland Security and the National Cyber Security Alliance.

About the author

Based in sunny Los Angeles, Neal Ungerleider covers science and technology for Fast Company. He also works as a consultant, writes books, and does other things.