Get to Know Cybersecurity Education

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State of alert

Not that we needed reminders. But the federal government’s March 15 alert about Russian cyber attacks on our power grid, water systems, aviation networks, and critical manufacturing sectors underscores the paramount importance of cybersecurity to safety and well-being.

While the larger point of cybersecurity is easy to understand, it can be harder to grasp what professionals in the field actually do and what kinds of career opportunities exist for interested students.

Making sense of the field

To meet this need, we are excited to announce the publication of the Start Engineering Cybersecurity Career Guide. Authoritative, wide-ranging, and informative, this 52-page, magazine-style publication for middle and high school students is the only print resource of its kind and available now in our online shop.

Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing, most important fields of study and work in America. In developing content for the book, we partnered with experts from the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, the National Security Agency, the Department of Homeland Security, and leading cybersecurity companies. Then we translated the lessons we learned from them about cybersecurity workforce needs into a stage-by-stage guide for middle and high school students to find the role that works for them in the field.

A look inside

Below you will find excerpts from the book that highlight the multiplicity of roles and opportunities available in the field, with clear guidance to help students identify and plot a path towards the cybersecurity career that fits them best.


Many rooms in the house of cybersecurity

Cybersecurity professionals work nearly everywhere in both public and private sectors to keep us safe in our online lives. Of course the government and cybersecurity companies concern themselves with this task. But every company that makes use of digital technologies and communications networks has to account for risks to their data and maintain robust cybersecurity procedures and tools. Because of the widespread needs for cybersecurity measures, opportunities abound throughout the economy for students to find a place in the field.


How to get formal training in the field

Educational pathways are open to students at many different levels of post-secondary learning. Certifications, associate’s degrees, and bachelor’s degrees all can qualify students to secure jobs in cybersecurity. Even so, most jobs do require a four-year degree, and graduate training can be necessary for advancing in some areas.

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Technical skills, of course, but not only

Cybersecurity careers do require at least some degree of competence with hardware and software. But the field also needs people to manage projects, analyze complex policy questions, develop strategy, and lead teams involved in all kinds of related activities. And because cyber threats take such varied forms, the field needs what some call “thought diversity.” Entrants to the field with diverse backgrounds and capabilities are valued because they bring distinctive perspectives to the highly collaborative work that cybersecurity projects entail.

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Rewards of many kinds

Cybersecurity opportunities abound everywhere in the country, and the jobs are well paying and secure. But more than material payback is available.

Kate Plough is a software development specialist at the National Security Agency. Cybersecurity offers her personal satisfactions as well as substantive purpose. Her college education and summer internships in cybersecurity cemented her love of computer science. Making it into a government career added a dimension of unique meaningfulness for her. She observes that, in addition to working on interesting problems that arise only in government, “I know that people use what I do, that what I do is needed and makes a positive difference in the world.”


Make it your own

As with all our books, organizations can customize the Cybersecurity Career Guide with their own logo and message. It’s a great tool for introducing students to an outreach program already in operation or for delivering a comprehensive, stand-alone message about what the field is all about.

Our Cybersecurity Career Guide is a one-of-a-kind publication in a field of vital national interest. We will delighted to hear any questions or comments about how it can work for you or any interested friends and colleagues.

Eric Iversen is VP for Learning and Communications at Start Engineering. He has written and spoken widely on engineering education in the K-12 arena. You can write to him about this topic, especially when he gets stuff wrong, at

You can also follow along on Twitter @StartEnginNow.

Remember! The updated version of our Start Engineering Career Guide is an all-in-one resource for getting middle and high school kids excited about engineering.

We’ve also got great new posters.

Our books cover the entire PreK-12 range. Get the one that’s right for you at our online shop.