Technology companies are increasingly prone to fishing for government assistance in producing potential employees with certain skills. The claim of a STEM shortage, which may actually be nothing but a myth, is one such example. A more specific field receiving attention is cybersecurity. According to Kelly Jackson Higgins at Dark Reading, a study by Raytheon and the National Cyber Security Alliance suggests that millennials are apparently not receiving the information and enticements they need to pursue careers in this field. “Young adults ages 18- to 26 worldwide just aren’t flocking to the cybersecurity field, despite the industry’s hot job market and talent gap. There’s a lack of awareness of cybersecurity career opportunities, and young women are less interested and informed about the field than men.”
The study offered such brilliant insights as the fact that two-thirds to three-quarters of high-school students received no information from a guidance counselor regarding cybersecurity as a career, and a similar range said that computer classes provided insufficient skills for the field. But high school is generally not a launching point to a career: it’s a launching point to college, so guidance counselors expected to advise students with a wide range of interests will likely avoid telling everyone about certain narrow specializations in specific fields. Moreover, given that schools are lousy at even teaching students to read, let alone think, the idea that a computer-science class at that level will offer enough sophistication to provide marketable (or anything beyond the most rudimentary) skills in cybersecurity is laughable.
Again, these kinds of studies are often just political fodder to elicit money for programs that do recruiting on the taxpayer dime. There is, of course, nothing wrong with companies advocating for more interest in certain careers, but some—including the Raytheons of the world—live and die by tax dollars. Perhaps the better course of action is to follow the rules of economics: if you want more of something, offer more money for it. Word will get around.
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