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Title:Factors that influence students to choose cybersecurity careers: An exploratory study
Author(s):Emerick, Gerald John
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Cope, Bill
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Kalantzis, Mary; Montebello, Matthew; Pak, Yoon
Department / Program:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Discipline:Educ Policy, Orgzn & Leadrshp
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):cybersecurity, cyber security, education, influencing factors, career choice, NICE Framework, ABET Cybersecurity
Abstract:Despite the strong, global demand for talented workers, higher than average salaries, and relatively low education requirements (bachelor’s degree) for computing fields such as cybersecurity, there continues to be a pipeline issue with graduating enough workers educated in cybersecurity to fill the demand in the United States and globally (Information Security Analysts, 2019; Morgan, 2017). At the same time, while there is significant literature related to factors that influence students to choose STEM careers more generally, there appears to be a lack of literature that addresses factors that influence students to choose a career in cybersecurity. This lack of literature limits our understanding of what interventions and programs may improve the cybersecurity pipeline issue. This study utilized a mixed-methods case study approach with the goal of providing insight into what factors influenced students in an accredited university cybersecurity program to choose cybersecurity as their career. The study also sought to better understand what aspects of cybersecurity the students found most and least interesting. Twenty-nine new cybersecurity students and 10 information systems students completed a mixed-methods survey, and five faculty at the Midwestern university were interviewed. Key findings suggest strong themes of factors that influence students to choose cybersecurity careers and these students’ interests in traditional computing subjects as well as subjects specific to cybersecurity. Differences in influencing factors, interests, barriers, and obstacles amongst female and minority students suggest unique considerations and challenges.
Issue Date:2020-11-19
Rights Information:© 2020 Gerald John Emerick
Date Available in IDEALS:2021-03-05
Date Deposited:2020-12

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