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Why Cybersecurity?

“The demand for the (cybersecurity) workforce is expected to rise to 6 million (globally) by 2019, with a projected shortfall of 1.5 million,” stated Michael Brown, CEO at Symantec, the world’s largest security software vendor. Mr. Brown stated this in 2014.

“The cybersecurity job market is on fire,” said Veronica Mollica in 2015, founder and executive information security recruiter at Indigo Partners. “Our candidates are facing competing offers from multiple companies with salary increases averaging over 30%. Current employers are scrambling to retain talent with counter offers including 10% and higher salary increases for information security team members to remain on board.”

Sometimes a declining market will balance the job figures when there is a labor shortage. However, that won’t happen in the fast-growing cybersecurity professions. The worldwide cybersecurity market is defined by market sizing estimates that range from $77 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020. The U.S. will have to fill its hundreds-of-thousands of cybersecurity positions over the next decade. The options are cross-training the IT workforce and getting more young people into cybersecurity degree programs. The alternative is the outsourcing of these jobs to other countries.

Global demand will create a need for six million more cyber security professionals by 2019

Many of the six million new professionals are sitting in high schools around the country. If you are one of them, you could be getting ready for a long and lucrative career before you receive your diploma.

High School TeacherHigh School Preparations

Here are some learning sources for high school students to help establish your future career:

Hacker High School

Hacker HighSchool (HHS) provides a set of free hands-on, e-book lessons designed specifically for teens to learn cybersecurity and critical Internet skills. These are lessons that challenge teens to be resourceful and creative hackers. The topics involve safe Internet use, web privacy, online research techniques, network security, and dealing with cyber-bullies. HHS believes that security awareness must be the continuing practice of a skill and not just the continuous reminder of a threat.

Udemy

Udemy is a global marketplace for learning online. Students master new skills and achieve their goals by learning from an extensive library of over 65,000 courses taught by expert instructors. Most for a nominal fee.

Network Security Engineers recommend learning the fundamentals: programming (C, python, Typescript 2), networking, encryption, and operating systems (basics, not specific types). Udemy can help with these topics. A search of their site under Cybersecurity reveals courses titled: The Absolute Beginners Guide to Information & Cybersecurity ($14.99); Ethical Hacking and Cyber Security Bootcamp for Beginners ($14.99); and The Complete Cyber Security Course: Network Security!; and many more.

These courses vary in length from an hour or two to 16 hours. Their course titled Introduction to Cyber Security consists of 55 lectures covering 13 hours for only $14.99. This is an excellent way for the computer-savvy high school student to hone his/her skills before college.

Microsoft

Yes, the software giant offers FREE courses for the computer enthusiast. Many of these satisfy the aforementioned recommendation to learn the fundamentals. There are courses in TypeScript 2, Artificial Intelligence, Python for Data Science, and Introduction to Cybersecurity. The latter course studies the cybersecurity landscape as well as national and international perspectives on the field. It also covers the legal environment that affects cybersecurity as well as predominant threat actors. This is a four-week course requiring 2-5 hours per week. It is free unless you want a verified certificate, which costs $79.

Most are self-paced and some are offered through UWashingtonX. This online learning institution is part of The University of Washington. UW is one of the preeminent public research universities in the world dedicated to preparing leaders of change, promoters of ideas, and creating a culture of collaboration.

Coursera

Coursera is an online learning platform offering single courses to accredited Master’s degrees. Single courses range in price from $29-$99 and generally take 4-6 weeks to complete. The Specialization courses last 4-6 months and cost between $39-$79 per month. Top instructors from the world’s best universities and educational institutions teach every course. Courses include recorded video lectures, auto-graded and peer-reviewed assignments, and community discussion forums. When you complete a course, you will receive an electronic Course Certificate.

One Specialization of interest is their Introduction to Cyber Security that consists of four courses. Created by New York University’s Tandon School of Engineering, the program helps learners develop a deeper understanding of modern information and system protection technology and methods. Customized interviews with industry partners are included to help connect the cybersecurity concepts to live business experiences. In addition, no prior experience needed to benefit from this coursework.

Conclusion

Any student with a penchant for all things computer-related should consider cybersecurity as a career. You can meet your aspirations in your early years of high school by soaking up as much knowledge as possible. Since the field of cybersecurity is constantly evolving, sometimes on a weekly basis, the practices you establish in high school will continue to serve you through the course of your career.