Ninety percent of organizations report a shortage of potential new hires with technical skills; almost 800 thousand technology-related jobs are available in the U.S. alone. Nearly half of these positions, 313,000 in total, are jobs in cybersecurity.

Globally, the challenge is even greater. Today, in countries around the world, an estimated one million cybersecurity positions are unfilled. The lack of personnel with the right digital skills to bridge the cyber gap is growing so fast that many are predicting a three-fold plus increase in that number by 2025. That means 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs are on the horizon.

The ramifications of this cyber skills gap are significant. CyberSeek reports, “There is a dangerous shortage of cybersecurity workers in the United States that puts our digital privacy and infrastructure at risk.”

A challenge for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities

How can institutions and educators—from K-12 through higher education—enhance and expand current course offerings to help prepare students for these high-demand, technology-related careers? And how can they do so without jeopardizing coursework in other areas, including those that focus on critical soft skills: creativity, problem solving, teamwork, communication, and more? This combination of soft skills and strong technical capabilities will open doors for many graduates.

Most importantly, how can they deliver a new technical curriculum even in the face of declining budgets?

A technology leader steps up to help fill the skills gap

To help combat the critical shortage of cyber defenders, Cisco is now offering a new Cyber Defense Clinic (CDC) for Education program. You can learn more about this free offering in this post from Peter Romness, a leader in cybersecurity programs at Cisco. The Cyber Defense Clinic provides schools with teaching materials and pre-programmed labs—as well as the software and equipment that bring them to life. Students gain experience as both an attacker and defender in various cyber-attack scenarios. With just an Internet connection and a browser, educators can structure the labs in ways that enhance the digital skills of their unique students.

Cyber Defense Clinic complements Cisco Networking Academy, which has helped students overcome the skills gap for more than two decades. Since the program’s launch, more than 9.2 million students in 180 countries have learned computer networking, programming, IoT, cybersecurity, entrepreneurship, and more. See what’s happening in your home state, or find an academy near you.

Hear more from Peter Romness about how colleges and universities can continue to keep information accessible, but still improve security in this podcast.

Learn more about Cisco Networking Academy. Then, to discover more about the solutions that prepare students for the world of work, visit cisco.com/go/education.


Donna Eason

Global Customer Marketing Writer