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Putting a "C" in STEM

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

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By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

As the Cybersecurity Program Director of the State of Indiana, I am encouraged that a career in cybersecurity is among the fastest-growing categories in technology – not only here in Indiana, but across the country and around the world.

Over the last 10 years, Forbes notes that cybersecurity jobs worldwide grew 350 percent (2013-2021). In the United States, there are approximately 750,000 open cybersecurity jobs, but only enough qualified workers to fill 400,000 of them.

By any measure, that’s quite a gap to try and fill. That being said, as someone who’s worked in cybersecurity for several years now, but whose background and experience is in communications (not technical), it’s my belief that the cybersecurity field is set up, you might say, for the kind of progress we’re seeing with STEM/STEAM careers that’s occurred within the past 20-30 years.

With this month being National Career Development Month, here are some reasons cybersecurity is emerging as a career to consider, including:

  • People are deciding – for a variety of reasons – to change jobs or switch careers at a rate we haven’t seen since the 1970s and the path for making that kind of transition is as wide-open as it’s ever been for people ranging in age from their late teens to their 50s or 60s (and older…).
  • In terms of education, nearly a dozen colleges and universities in the Hoosier State offer cybersecurity degree programs as part of their class offerings. Opportunities are starting to grow among K-12 schools and competitions, such as CyberStart America, are helping to introduce cyber as a career to high school students to consider pursuing once they graduate.
  • At the same time, a growing number of organizations – educational, vocational, and military, as well others in both the private and public sectors – are offering programs with real-world training (that doesn’t require a degree) and on-the-job experience that can lead to someone earning an entry-level salary in the range of $40,000-$50,000 in as little as six months.
  • Because of the urgency that exists to fill these positions, the opportunity for creating a diverse and inclusive workforce is greater than ever. Additionally, the opportunities for finding a meaningful career includes people who’ve been diagnosed as neurodiverse; creating a career path for someone whose performance is not defined by the fact they are managing a condition, such as autism, attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) or dyslexia, as part of their everyday life.

Whether you’re a student, a parent, or an employer, you are invited to visit the cyber careers page on our Indiana Cyber Hub website. There, you’ll find links to all kinds of FREE resources, covering everything from job boards to educational information that’s designed to help you find schools and/or organizations that are offering degreed programs and where to go to find a wide range of training.

Who knows, maybe as the world of cybersecurity continues to grow, we can find a way to celebrate cyber as part of STEM Day and that we’ll not only keep adding – and filling – job positions in cyberspace, but we’ll find ways to add cyber as an option in more and more classrooms and communities across Indiana.