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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Half of Cybersecurity Professionals Find Formal Education Unhelpful in Current Roles

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New Kaspersky research reveals half of cybersecurity professionals find their formal education irrelevant. The study explores the gap between academic programs and real-world industry needs, suggesting solutions for universities and professionals.

Amid acute shortages of cybersecurity professionals, acting information security (InfoSec) experts are questioning the relevance of their formal education, Kaspersky’s new global research shows. The survey revealed that one in two cybersecurity professionals could not confirm the usefulness of their academic training when it came to helping them in their role. As a result, these experts have to invest their resources in further training to tackle the ever-evolving threat landscape and keep up with industry developments.

According to ISC2, the world’s leading organization for cybersecurity professionals, the existing cybersecurity workforce needs to grow almost two-fold to run at full capacity and support the global economy. To explore the root causes for the current cybersecurity skills shortage and the lack of InfoSec professionals, Kaspersky commissioned a global study that takes a closer look at the educational aspects of the problem and its influence on the career paths of these experts.

Many InfoSec experts point out that the education system is detached from the realities of cybersecurity, resulting in a lack of applicability when it comes to real-life work experience: almost every other professional believes the knowledge taught in formal education was somewhat (14%), slightly (13%) useful or of no use at all (24%) when it came to fulfilling their job duties. 

Respondents were asked additional questions to determine the factors that might be holding back the educational field. Less than half of respondents said their college or university program offered them hands-on experience in real-life cybersecurity scenarios as live projects: 23% ‘strongly agreed’ with this statement, and 26% ‘somewhat agreed.’ In addition, access to the latest technologies and equipment, and the quality of internships emerged as the weakest aspects of cybersecurity education.

While one issue is the quality and relevance of educational programs, another is the availability of cybersecurity and InfoSec training per se. For instance, half of current cybersecurity experts believe that the availability of cybersecurity or information security courses in formal higher education is either ‘poor’ or ‘very poor.’ Among professionals with 2-5-years of experience, this figure soars to more than 80%.

Cybersecurity education is facing certain challenges when it comes to keeping up with developments in the cybersecurity industry,” comments Evgeniya Russkikh, Head of Cybersecurity Education at Kaspersky. “The rapidly evolving nature of cyber threats means that educational programs often struggle to ensure their content is current, leaving cybersecurity professionals with knowledge gaps. At Kaspersky, we help universities overcome these challenges and ensure continual learning and adaptation for young professionals by integrating the leading expertise of our industry experts into educational curriculums so that they combine practical hands-on experience with theoretical knowledge.”

The full report and more insights on the human impact on cybersecurity in business are available via the link.

To tackle the cybersecurity skills shortage, Kaspersky suggests a multi-faceted approach focused on the academic field, the InfoSec workforce, and businesses:

  1. Higher education institutions can upgrade their curriculums by partnering with cybersecurity players and integrating the latest industry knowledge into their training programs. Kaspersky has a special program for universities to integrate cybersecurity expertise: the Kaspersky Academy Alliance, which offers program participants access to world-class knowledge on cyber threats, lectures, and training sessions, and the latest technologies.
  2. Young professionals can supplement their academic training with real-life job experience by completing an information security or R&D department internship. Follow the news on Kaspersky’s LinkedIn page to be the first to find out about openings in the internship program.
  3. International competitions run by various companies and organizations also allow cybersecurity professionals to develop their skills by solving various cybersecurity challenges. Kaspersky runs the Secur’IT Cup, a global competition for students from all over the world and from various academic backgrounds. Participants can compete for an award while building an understanding of what it is like to work in the industry.
  4. Acting cybersecurity professionals can opt for continuous learning and undertake additional training courses and certifications. Kaspersky provides a wide range of knowledge on information security for IT professionals, offering professional education for individuals and corporate training

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