President Barack Obama recently proposed a $19 billion Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which includes $62 million to establish a CyberCorps Reserve program, a Cybersecurity Core Curriculum and strengthen the National Centers for Academic Excellence in Cybersecurity Program. The focus on cybersecurity education couldn’t have come too soon according to a recent study by CloudPassage.

The San Francisco-based security company analyzed the cybersecurity education programs at top U.S. universities and found that “not one of the top 10 U.S. computer science programs (as ranked by the U.S. News & World Report in 2015) requires a single cybersecurity course for graduation.” Among the top 36 computer science programs in the U.S., only one school—University of Michigan—required a cybersecurity course.

Other industry professionals have identified the problematic lack of talent to fill necessary public and private sector jobs in cybersecurity. According to David Brumley, director of CyLab at Carnegie Mellon University, “if we want to become the cybersecurity-aware nation that we need to be, we need to start with removing the stigma from the cybersecurity profession” and “stop equating hackers with criminals.” 

CloudPassage found that “with more than 200,000 open cybersecurity jobs in 2015 in the U.S. alone and the number of threat surfaces exponentially increasing, there’s a growing skills gap between the bad actors and the good guys.” To fix this lack of talent, Brumley suggested putting cybersecurity as a national priority, at the same level as STEM—science, technology, engineering and mathematics. “Pushing cybersecurity education at the undergraduate level is critical. It’s a huge field, a huge talent shore,” Brumley said. The CloudPassage study concluded that “The American education system is failing computer science students by deprioritizing cybersecurity training.” 

We don’t need no hacker-control. Hey teacher, don’t leave them kids alone!

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