6 December 2017
With a £20 million initiative just launched by the government to boost youngsters’ interest in cyber security, it’s clear that helping to fill a looming skills gap is a big priority. The Cyber Discovery programme is just one of several courses that are designed to promote engagement with security work as a future career for our kids.
“This government is committed to improving the skills of the next generation and encouraging the best young minds into cyber security.” Karen Bradley, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.
Cyber Discovery is designed to inspire the digital talent of tomorrow, giving thousands of young people between the ages of 14 and 18 an opportunity to fast track their careers by developing cutting-edge cyber security skills through online challenges, face to face learning, role-playing and real-world technical challenges. It’s part of a £1.9 billion investment to protect the UK from online threats.
Born between 1980 and 2000, ‘Millennials’ are now the largest living generation, and as they mature into 20 and 30-something professionals, it will be critical that they are ready, willing and able to plug the massive cyber-security employment gap. Because it’s predicted that there will be a shortage of 1.8 million workers in the industry by 2022.
The protection of our digital information and communication systems will be the sole responsibility of this next generation of cyber security talent. As technology and threats are constantly evolving, we need to ensure that we’re training teams that are up to the job of protecting us in cyberspace, because a large number of the current crop of experienced security professionals are now nearing the end of their careers.
“A lot of experienced security professionals are reaching retirement age, while many of today’s students find the potential rewards of building tomorrow’s technology more appealing than the task of securing yesterday’s .” Stephen Cobb, Senior Security Researcher at ESET.
Encouraging young blood into the vacuum left by these retirees will create the ‘most diverse group of information security workers ever’, according to a survey by the Center for Cybersafety and Education (CCE) in the U.S, which can be seen as a positive step in the right direction, as research consistently shows that diverse workplaces outperform their non-diverse counterparts.
There’s also a problem at present with a gender skew in the industry. As of 2015, only 1 in 10 computer security jobs were held by women, so an influx of fresh, engaged minds may help to remedy this inequality. “As women make up more than half the population, and almost half
of the current workforce, this means that our industry could be failing to reach skilled professionals who may not even be aware of a career in computer security.” Lysa Myers, Researcher at ESET.
So, with studies now showing that interest and enthusiasm amongst the younger generation in the increasingly important cybersecurity industry is growing, there are reasons to be hopeful of a secure future in cyberspace.
Responsible computer recycling is vital, if you want to play your part in reducing potentially health and environmentally-harming e-waste, as well as keeping your data secure, both today and in the future. So if your company is one that is committed to the ethical recycling of its obsolete computers and technology products, make sure secure and environmentally friendly computer recycling that adheres to proper recycling regulations is part of your consideration. It’s also important to be aware that companies are now legally obliged to safely dispose of potentially sensitive information in accordance with current security laws and the Data Protection Act of 1998. Be sure only to use a computer recycling company that operates in accordance with, and preferably exceeds all government guidelines such as the WEEE Directive and the Data Protection Act.