Cybercrime is a huge problem facing businesses locally and all over the world, but on the other side of the hard drive, it can be a huge opportunity for students like you.
The numbers associated with cybercrime are huge. Estimates are that it costs businesses, individuals and governments more than $640 billion annually and this cost will grow into the many trillions in the next four years. In New Zealand it’s estimated that 550 companies are affected by cybercrime – every week!
And here’s the opportunity. Around the world it is predicted that there will be 1.5 million unfilled jobs in the cyber security field by just 2019. Right now and looking well into the future, the cyber security sector features 0% unemployment.
What is cybercrime?
Cybercrime is criminal activity done using computers and the Internet. It runs from computer geeks looking for bragging rights to businesses trying to get an advantage in by hacking competitor websites, from rings of criminals wanting to steal your personal information and sell it on black markets to spies and terrorists looking to steal vital national information or disrupt services.
Career options expanding with the crimes
Career options for students interested in tackling cybercrime are quickly expanding into fields like law, research, health, teaching and insurance as well as in the IT world. Demand for employees who have skills and knowledge in cyber security is strong, and the number of senior management roles based on cyber security and risk is growing rapidly.
It’s a field crying out for females too, with estimates that just 10% of the cyber crime workforce is female meaning there is plenty of room and opportunity in this high paying field.
Cyber Security Challenge sets up pathway for students
A University of Waikato-based cyber security research centre, Cyber Security Researchers of Waikato (CROW), wants secondary school students to get serious about tapping into this exciting job market.
CROW runs the annual New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge for secondary school students who want to learn more about cyber security, show off their skills and meet industry experts and learn about what it takes to develop a career in cyber security. This year will be the 4th year the Challenge has been held. Last year the competition attracted over 260 participants and as many as 500 are expected to play this year.
Participants competed in two rounds: Round One, a capture-the-flag style challenge and Round Two, a Red team vs. Blue team game where the Blue teams had to defend their vulnerable servers from attacks from the Red teams, which consisted of an industry professional and two members of CROW.
Competitions begin from mid-June and the top 150 participants head to the University of Waikato in July to get hands-on training and compete in teams to become the 2017 New Zealand Cyber Security Challenge Champions. The challenge also includes a career fair that puts prospective students in touch with potential employers.
Get into it
Talk to your IT teacher about getting a team together for the Cyber Security Challenge or get a team together with a few mates – what you learn will be invaluable and you might just grab some really important contacts for the future. And it can be done – last year a solo entrant from Cambridge High School was the runner up in this competition.