The Perfect Career for Millennials: Cybersecurity
It shouldn’t be news to anyone that millennials are having a tough time on the job market. There are plenty of anecdotes about young people who have recently graduated college finding themselves overqualified for fast food work, yet under-qualified for the white-collar work they were groomed for. The data seems to support these stories, with unemployment for millennials recently recorded at 12.8 percent, well over double the national unemployment rate of 4.7 percent.
Theories to explain this huge gap between millennials and their older peers are about as common as jokes about the maligned generation. One common thread, however, seems to be that college graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to break into the job market for their fields. Entry level jobs are disappearing behind oxymoronic job postings that require 5 years of work experience in the field. Somehow many fields are an employers market, allowing companies to put in place extremely limiting restrictions on the positions that college graduates would like to use to break into the workplace.
One way for millennials to avoid these restrictions is to orient themselves towards fields where there is a high demand for labor. My recommendation is that we take a deeper look at cybersecurity, a burgeoning field that’s perfect for millennials.
What is Cybersecurity?
The field of cybersecurity has received a lot of attention lately thanks to the accusations of Russian hacking surrounding the DNC leaks and other reported breaches of America’s digital borders. There is also some concern that private citizens may be at risk of having their data hacked, although many Americans don’t think they’re personally at risk of a cyberattack. In spite of this sense of security, Gallup reports that 27% of American households have had credit card information stolen and 11% have had their smartphones hacked.
The fact is that the world is largely in uncharted territory when it comes to cybersecurity, so it’s difficult to say exactly what this field will come to involve. We can say for certain, however, that cybersecurity experts will be placed in charge of securing digital assets, whether they belong to governments, corporations, or private individuals. The growing specter of digital infiltration by hostile agents, whether they be spies, corporate hackers out to steal their rivals’ secrets, or just common identity thieves, is creating a need for experts to fight these criminals.
Cybersecurity professionals will have to stay one step ahead of their malicious counterparts, devising new ways of blocking unwanted access to sensitive information. This work will be engaging and isn’t likely to be going away anytime soon. As long as someone wants to keep a secret, they’ll be willing to pay a cybersecurity expert to help them.
Why Does Cybersecurity Matter?
Unlike many positions in today’s increasing corporate workplace, working in cybersecurity is a chance to have a real impact on the world. Millennials seek work with a purpose more than previous generations, so many are unhappy with the idea of working as a pencil pusher in a nameless corporation.
While many cybersecurity jobs exist in the corporate world, there are plenty in both the personal domain protecting the lives of individuals and in government, protecting the nation from enemies both within and without. Cybersecurity professionals can also find work in the FBI or local police forces, tracking down criminals who operate online.
Why is Cybersecurity Good for Millennials?
Earlier we talked about the difficulties for millennials when it comes to breaking into the workforce. In many domains employers are able to dictate the terms of employment and do so in excessively demanding ways. Cybersecurity, on the other hand, is a worker’s field. Experts can take their skills wherever they please and there will always be someone who wants to bid higher for their services, making this perfect for millennials who feel locked out of a job market that demands years of experience for entry level positions.
One reason behind the demand for experts is the field’s focus on new technology. Older generations that have not grown up around computers often have a hard time adjusting to even relatively simple applications. Most of us probably have at least one memory of trying to help our parents or grandparents check their email or plug in their computer. The fact is that our generation is better equipped to handle technology than any preceding generation and those skills will come in handy for finding jobs in digital fields.
The shortage of experts is further compounded by the backgrounds of many hacking experts. Many of those who grew up with an interest in hacking often find themselves with criminal records that make it difficult to gain employment, especially with federal agencies. According to Boston University’s Online Computer Information Systems Program, the Department of Homeland Security is “actively recruiting dynamic cybersecurity professionals in its National Cybersecurity and Communications Integration Center (NCCIC) to help protect the Nation’s cyberspace.” This push for qualified experts is one of many opportunities for millennials to get in on the ground level of cybersecurity.
What’s more, things are only getting started. Last year in his proposed 2017 budget, President Obama called for $19 billion to help bolster the nation’s cybersecurity. The need is real and there’s no shortage of money that less technologically literate officials and executives are willing to throw at their cyber security holes.
The job market is tough for millennials right now, but by jumping into young fields like cyber security where older generations cannot shoulder the technological burdens, the future is definitely bright.
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