Cybersecurity US election
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Interest in cybersecurity spikes due to US election

8 Nov 2016

Young adults are more likely to pursue a career in cybersecurity due to the US presidential election, according to a survey by major US defence contractor, Raytheon and the US National Cyber Security Alliance.

Cybersecurity was probably one of the hottest topics of the 2016 US election, with cyberattacks and deleted emails becoming a normal part of election talk. If we were to look for a silver lining amidst the din, it would be the huge interest in the cybersecurity industry it has sparked, which could help fill the sector’s talent gap.

A survey commissioned in the US by cybersecurity heavyweights found that there has been almost a 10pc spike in young adults who are interested in making the internet safer since 2015.

Major US defence contractor, Raytheon and the US National Cyber Security Alliance conducted the survey with the intention to identify the root causes of the cyber talent gap.

Globally, 37pc of young adults are more likely to consider a career in cybersecurity compared to 28pc last year.

“Millennials see hacktivists breaking into computer systems and threatening our economy,” said Dave Wajsgras, president of the Raytheon intelligence, information and services sector.

The results also show that the number of young adults in the US who said they had read or heard a news account of cyberattacks within the last year nearly doubled from the previous year.

More than half of the people surveyed said that a political candidate’s position on cybersecurity impacts their level of support for that candidate.

The report surveyed almost 4,000 young adults between the ages of 18 and 26 from across four global regions.

The survey also highlighted that there is still a gender gap when it comes to tech and security. It found that 54pc of young men, compared to just 36pc of young women, said they were aware of the tasks involved in the cybersecurity profession.

It also found that 59pc of men reported receiving formal cyber safety lessons, compared to 51pc of women.

“When it comes to guidance for pursuing cybersecurity careers, young adults say parents are the most influential figure in shaping their career choices, but most millennials don’t believe their parents are prepared to help them pursue a career in cybersecurity,” said Michael Kaiser, executive director of the National Cyber Security Alliance.

“As parents, leaders and educators we need to better communicate the opportunities in the cybersecurity field and help guide students to them.”

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Jenny Darmody
By Jenny Darmody

Jenny Darmody became the deputy editor of Silicon Republic in 2020, having worked as the careers editor until June 2019. When she’s not writing about the science and tech industry, she’s writing short stories and attempting novels. She continuously buys more books than she can read in a lifetime and pretty stationery is her kryptonite. She also believes seagulls to be the root of all evil and her baking is the stuff of legends.

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