Addressing the Barriers to Closing the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

After the notorious SolarWinds cyberattack, cyber events have continued to illustrate the need for a highly trained and prepared cybersecurity workforce—and even motivated American adults to consider a career change to the field. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in cybersecurity is expected to grow significantly faster than most occupations, increasing by 33% from 2020 to 2030.

On paper, cybersecurity is an attractive field that provides information security professionals with competitive annual salaries and countless career opportunities. However, the reality of the cyber landscape looks a bit different. The field is in the midst of a major skills gap in both the public and private sectors as employers struggle to build their cyber workforce.

Champlain College Online’s recent survey, "Adult Viewpoints 2021: The Cybersecurity Skills Gap and Barriers to Entry," fielded questions to 1,011 American adults. While the survey found more than half were interested in a cybersecurity career, it also identified numerous barriers to entry.

High expectations for prior training, lack of diversity and inclusion, and toxic work culture are top barriers preventing adults from pursuing a career in cybersecurity. Respondents identified employer tuition assistance and employer-sponsored training and education as top motivators for entering the field. Recognizing both the barriers and motivators to a career in cybersecurity helps employers meet hiring needs and close the existing skills gap.


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