The secret to get employees to go back to school for cybersecurity: Pay their tuition

With the growing need for cybersecurity professionals in the enterprise, sponsored tuition could help fill skill gaps, and 72% of workers are willing to go back to school for it.

How to solve the human challenges of cybersecurity

Cybersecurity professionals are in high demand, which leaves many companies in a bind when they need to expand their workforce. Instead of competing for talent, some organizations have begun looking to re-skilling or education programs for current employees.

But, how many people are actually willing to give up their day job and learn how to become a cybersecurity pro? Quite a few, actually.

According to a Monday survey from Champlain College Online, 41% of adults said they "would probably or definitely consider returning to college" to earn some sort of degree or certificate for security. If their employer was willing to pay for such an education in preparation for an in-house job, that number rose to 72%, though, the survey noted.

SEE: Information security policy (Tech Pro Research)

"These findings are great news for employers seeking to address the cyber skills gap within their organizations yet facing recruitment challenges," Melissa Marcello, associate vice president at Champlain College Online, said in a press release. "Our survey shows that employers have a ready and willing pool of future cyber experts within their current workforce, if they're willing to provide the resources and support to upskill and train them."

About 88% of the 1,004 adults surveyed said they were either very concerned or somewhat concerned about security threats that impacted them. When separated by age, the older respondents were more concerned than the younger ones.

While coding bootcamps and alternative education programs are booming, adults haven't lost faith in universities and colleges. Some 68% of those surveyed said they were confident that these traditional schools could create solutions to cyberthreats--that's close to the confidence level respondents had in the private sector, and far above their confidence in the government.

According to the survey data, "90 percent of respondents felt that higher education institutions should ensure all college students--regardless of major--have a basic cybersecurity education," the release said.

For those who wouldn't be willing to return to school, 22% said they felt it was too late to go back--and this number included many young respondents too. Women (13%) were more likely than men (6%) to say they didn't think they could cut it in a technical field like cybersecurity, according to the report. However, 85% said that more should be done to encourage women to enter cybersecurity. Respondents who were 65 years old or older were the most like to feel this way, at 94%.

"Cybersecurity is crucial to so many industries that it's vital for everyone, regardless of gender, age or career field, to have at least a baseline understanding of cyber principles," Kathleen Hyde, chair of cybersecurity programs at Champlain College Online, said in the release. "For those seeking more, like career changers, nearly everyone is an ideal candidate for a cybersecurity degree or certificate program because of the vast landscape."

The big takeaways for tech leaders:

  • 72% of adults said they would go back to school for a cybersecurity job if their employer was willing to pay for such an education in preparation for an in-house job. -- Champlain College Online, 2018
  • 90% of adults said that colleges and universities should ensure all students have a basic cybersecurity education, regardless of major. -- Champlain College Online, 2018

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Image: iStockphoto/metamorworks