8 December 2016, Brussels
According to the 2015 Global Information Security Workforce Study, the cybersecurity workforce shortfall may range from one to two million positions unfilled by 2019, proving the urgency of the situation, which is of critical importance to the digital society and business sector.
Are we doing enough to encourage more young people into cybersecurity careers? Should employers be doing more to channel young people’s interests and talent in the field? Or perhaps educational institutions should be better at preparing students with more advanced cyber skills? To discuss these issues and suggest effective solutions, European Schoolnet
and Kaspersky Lab
organised a one-day event on future-proofing cybersecurity, attended by representatives from industry, European institutions, recruitment firms, academia, and cybersecurity centres, at European Schoolnet’s Future Classroom Lab
Empowering people to keep themselves and their organisations safe on the internet as well as training more and better skilled cybersecurity professionals are two priorities clearly recognised by all the actors involved in the debate. But how? And what is preventing this to happen? In a connected world, cybersecurity is a shared responsibility and not only the technology producers, but also users and consumers should do their part to minimize risks and contain threats. In this regard, the education sector and the government can really make a difference promoting curricula and campaigns to inform and educate society, as well as collaborate with the private sector to take these initiatives’ impact to scale.
Even among computer science students, cybersecurity careers are often seen as demanding and not so rewarding. In the words of Professor Jean-Noel Colin from the University of Namur:
‘‘Security professionals are like goalkeepers: rarely praised, often criticised.’’
Therefore, the need to change young people’s perception of the sector is clear.
For more people to take up related studies and careers, we need therefore to work on defusing stereotypes, further engaging girls and women to a larger extent, currently accounting for only 11% of the sector workforce; include cybersecurity educational activities into ICT curricula in formal education settings; promote the image of ethical hacking and the social relevance of cybersecurity careers, and finally adopt strong holistic national education and cybersecurity action plans.
The event’s conclusions echoed the findings of a recently published study conducted by Kaspersky Lab, according to which “the skills gap needs to be bridged by a combined effort of both industry and education if we are to enthuse young people about entering cybersecurity careers. […] Through a combination of education and learning on the job, we need to nurture and entice young people into the profession before the gap widens even further”
The event was organised along the priority actions of the European Commission’s Digital Skills and Jobs Coalition
, of which Kaspersky Lab is a new pledging member, and within the framework of the global Computer Science Education Week
• Future-Proofing Cybersecurity. Panel Discussion & Workshop