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Schools need to do more to encourage youngsters into cyber security career

Young females will be key to filling the global cyber security talent shortage but more needs to be done at school level to encourage young people to pursue a career in IT, a new survey from the US has suggested.

Out of the 524 tech-savvy millennials surveyed by ProtectWise, the vast majority of respondents (69 per cent) had never taken a cyber security-focussed class in school.

However, this is generally because most of them haven’t had a choice with 65 per cent saying that their school never offered cyber security courses.

ProtectWise believes that this lack of awareness and opportunity shortage is fuelling the pending and future skills shortage and that the most direct way of addressing this is to make cyber security training opportunities available to millennials and post-millennials.

Consequently, less than one in ten (nine per cent) said that cybersecurity is a career they are interested in pursuing at some point in their lives.

Currently, only seven per cent of cyber security workers are under the age of 29 and just 11 per cent are women, a separate report found.

Speaking to TechRepublic, ISC(2)’s chief operating officer Wesley Simpson warned that a significant number of cyber professionals will start to retire over the next decade.

“We don't have a good plan to backfill those large number of folks starting to leave the industry,” he stressed.

“We need to be able to educate and bring awareness to all facets of cybersecurity, and [send a message] that regardless of if you have a technical degree or not, it's a great, diverse, lucrative career for folks to get into.”