What would happen if we didn’t have the millions of cybersecurity professionals needed to fight hackers and prevent cyberattacks? Unfortunately, that’s not a hypothetical question. Data suggests that, by 2021, there will be a deficit of 3.5 million cybersecurity professionals globally and 300,000 in the U.S. alone. Without these workers–and the cybersecurity education to prepare them–cyberattacks will only continue to increase in frequency and severity.

As the talent shortage in cybersecurity continues, it will only become harder for companies to protect digital assets like sensitive data, critical applications, and online experiences. In response, we must look beyond the existing workforce to help today’s students become tomorrow’s cybersecurity specialists.

Why cybersecurity education deserves a place in schools

The current shortage of cybersecurity workers exists primarily because we haven’t emphasized cybersecurity in schools nearly enough. Students might learn the basics, but they’re not engaging with this subject as if it were a future career path. That must change — otherwise, the hackers win.

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Education today must reflect the fact that we live in a digital world and interact with each other through technology. Cybersecurity education and training should be commonplace in schools, yet most people only engage with this subject seriously once they enter the workforce.

About the Author:

Thomas Russell, M.Ed., is the cyber education program manager for the National Cybersecurity Center. In 2020, he was named the Cyber Education Administrator of the Year by the EdCenter. Thomas also has years of teaching cybersecurity, technology literacy, and computer classes to high school students.


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