Millennials are generally uninterested in cybersecurity careers -- which is dangerous, given the shortage of experts in this vital field.
Organizations already coping with a shortage of cybersecurity experts better get used to it -- or figure out new ways to develop talent.
That is one takeaway from "Preparing Millennials to Lead Cyberspace," a new Raytheon-commissioned report sponsored by the National Cybersecurity Alliance and the Department of Homeland Security. The study, conducted by Zogby Analytics, focused on 1,000 young adults, ages 18 to 26, in the U.S.
Becoming a cybersecurity expert is seldom on millennials' radar, the survey found. In part, that could be because 82% said guidance counselors and teachers never recommended the career. In part, it could be due to the allure of other, more glamorous-seeming paths: 40% aspire to be entertainers and 39% have their sights set on becoming entrepreneurs. Within the tech space, 32% want to be social media professionals, 30% picked software engineering, and only 24% cited a cybersecurity path. By comparison, 18% want to become politicians and 25% aspire to become college professors. Sadly -- but perhaps unsurprisingly given the ongoing difficulties of attracting women to tech careers -- 35% of young males versus 14% of young females are interested in a cybersecurity career, the study found.
Perhaps one reason millennials are relatively uninterested in cybersecurity is their apparent disregard for online safeguards. Two-thirds of these users have, for example, connected to a public Wi-Fi network that didn't require a password in the past month. One-fifth have never changed their online banking password; 23% shared an online password with a non-family member, and 48% have plugged into a portable storage device someone gave them within the last month.