Thousands of teenagers are to be given lessons in cyber security in the hope they will boost Britain’s defences against hackers and terrorists. The Cyber Schools Programme aims to train 5,700 teenagers aged between 14 and 18 over the next five years to develop some of the key skills they would need to work in cyber security. IT security experts from AlienVault and ESET commented below.
Javvad Malik, Security Advocate at AlienVault:
“It’s difficult to say whether or not such a drive will greatly impact the skills shortage. The reasons being that the skills shortage today, won’t be the same in 5 years and the needs could increase significantly by then. Secondly, these are similar challenges to STEM education. Whereby, making a subject available doesn’t necessarily translate into students opting to pursue it as a career in the future.
As far as the curriculum goes, that is a tough one. Cyber Security is an extremely broad subject area – so input would be required from various discipline experts to encompass a broad range of skills from security and risk management, audit, assurance, coding, defending, and attacking perspectives amongst others.”
Mark James, IT Security Specialist at ESET:
“If we want to bridge the gap in cyber security skills in our youth then we have to invest in them at an early age. If the right foundations are laid then the interest will follow, the industry itself is ever changing and one that offers fantastic opportunities for someone that excels at changing landscapes and adapting to new challenges. The biggest problem currently is getting the right foundation skills; all too often these are self-taught. Code mashing in the gaming world of mods or hacks may also spark interest. Designing the right structure will be a challenge, the interest and goals need to be tailored explicitly with the endgame in mind, not an easy task.”