Have you ever struggled to explain your job as a cybersecurity professional to a curious friend or neighbor? Sadly, you’re not alone.

According to Raytheon, more than half of millennials believe they have an idea of what it means to have a career in cybersecurity. Still, they don’t fully understand the vast array of work that is done, the skills that are needed or the real career opportunities that exist in this expanding industry. In fact, they typically believe that a computer science or engineering degree is required to work in cybersecurity.

The same report found that millennials want careers that involve problem-solving, management, data analysis, communication or software programming. So why don’t know that the cybersecurity field boasts all of these characteristics? One big reason: a simple lack of awareness. This, combined with the vast cybersecurity skills gap, is the reason why the theme for week two of National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) 2018 is “Educating for a Career in Cybersecurity.”

Training the Next Generation of Cyber Defenders

This week — and throughout the year — the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) is striving to raise awareness among the next generation of potential cybersecurity professionals as a starting point to building stronger defenses. From high school to higher education, there are many ways to educate young people about the field of cybersecurity as they consider their career options.

Discover how today’s cyber heroes launched their security careers

Is there a student or young professional in your life who you think would succeed in the security field? The NICE Cybersecurity Workforce Framework is a great resource for information about the skills needed for a career in cybersecurity. The NICE Framework establishes a taxonomy of cybersecurity work regardless of where or for whom the work is performed. Providing a truly comprehensive look at the industry, the framework is intended for use in the public, private and academic sectors. And if you’re not ready to delve into the full read, this simple one-pager will get you started.

Now’s the Time to Launch a Career in Cybersecurity

Planning out your own career — or helping a mentee plan his or hers — is no easy task. We know the vast array of opportunities in cybersecurity can be overwhelming, but don’t let that stop you. All interested students or young professionals have to do is choose a place to start. NCSAM 2018 is the perfect time to enroll in an introductory course; take advantage of free online courses, such as those provided by Hacker Highschool; or attend a cybersecurity seminar such as those offered regularly by IBM.

Start your cybersecurity journey this October, and you could very well end up like IBM’s Bridgette Pepper. Bridgette started out studying political science and is currently a program manager at IBM Security. Today, Bridgette is deeply involved in outreach efforts to build cybersecurity career awareness among young people.

To learn more about careers in cybersecurity, be sure to check out what’s happening across the U.S. during National Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week from Nov. 12–17.

Listen to the podcast

More from CISO

Who Carries the Weight of a Cyberattack?

Almost immediately after a company discovers a data breach, the finger-pointing begins. Who is to blame? Most often, it is the chief information security officer (CISO) or chief security officer (CSO) because protecting the network infrastructure is their job. Heck, it is even in their job title: they are the security officer. Security is their responsibility. But is that fair – or even right? After all, the most common sources of data breaches and other cyber incidents are situations caused…

Transitioning to Quantum-Safe Encryption

With their vast increase in computing power, quantum computers promise to revolutionize many fields. Artificial intelligence, medicine and space exploration all benefit from this technological leap — but that power is also a double-edged sword. The risk is that threat actors could abuse quantum computers to break the key cryptographic algorithms we depend upon for the safety of our digital world. This poses a threat to a wide range of critical areas. Fortunately, alternate cryptographic algorithms that are safe against…

How Do You Plan to Celebrate National Computer Security Day?

In October 2022, the world marked the 19th Cybersecurity Awareness Month. October might be over, but employers can still talk about awareness of digital threats. We all have another chance before then: National Computer Security Day. The History of National Computer Security Day The origins of National Computer Security Day trace back to 1988 and the Washington, D.C. chapter of the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on Security, Audit and Control. As noted by National Today, those in…

Emotional Blowback: Dealing With Post-Incident Stress

Cyberattacks are on the rise as adversaries find new ways of creating chaos and increasing profits. Attacks evolve constantly and often involve real-world consequences. The growing criminal Software-as-a-Service enterprise puts ready-made tools in the hands of threat actors who can use them against the software supply chain and other critical systems. And then there's the threat of nation-state attacks, with major incidents reported every month and no sign of them slowing. Amidst these growing concerns, cybersecurity professionals continue to report…