As the roles of IT leaders evolve from technology-focused to strategy-based, school districts are adding cybersecurity training programs to their curricula, driven by a shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals in the workforce, eSchool News reports.
In 2015-16, a survey found 42% of organizations reporting a shortage of cybersecurity employees, and that number grew to 53% by 2019.
Budget-strapped districts are getting creative when it comes to implementing training programs. Many are working with government, nonprofits and cybersecurity vendors to put together programs to fill these demands, and districts should also train students to learn different cybersecurity programs and strategies, since the technology they're trained for now will likely become obsolete by the time they enter the workforce.
As the world relies increasingly on technology, there is a a greater need for cybersecurity professionals to protect sensitive data from potential hackers. However, statistics show there has been a consistent shortage of professionals to fill jobs.
While four-year colleges and universities offer cybersecurity programs to train potential professionals who would enter the workforce in the near future, the growing shortage must be addressed immediately.
To fill the gap, K-12 districts are beginning to offer courses that provide certifications for students who are still in high school.
For example, Baltimore’s Parkville High School offers a cybersecurity program that allows students to earn both professional certification and college credit. These programs typically offer four courses that allow students to earn industry certification and dual or articulated college credit.
Cybersecurity Ventures predicts the cybersecurity worker shortage will hit 3.5 million by 2021. As the job shortages increase, the salaries for the profession grow, with the median income currently at more than $100,000.
Additionally, offering training at the high school level can help schools and districts fill their own gaps, with current students offering support to existing staff in an apprentice-like capacity and potentially being groomed for future employment.