Immersive technologies are game changers for cybersecurity job growth

A new ESG study, which surveyed more than 500 people aged 16 to 24, revealed that 74% of respondents said the use of VR tools would increase their likelihood of pursuing cybersecurity careers.

When respondents are told VR/AR technologies could be a feature of a cybersecurity tool:

immersive technologies cybersecurity

Lack of awareness and perceived high barriers

With 1% of employed respondents working in cybersecurity and only 9% of all respondents showing an interest in pursuing a career in the field, the research uncovered that a lack of awareness, and perceived high barriers to entry have led younger generations away from jobs in cybersecurity.

65% of respondents who haven’t been exposed to cybersecurity in an academic setting said their school didn’t offer cybersecurity courses and 30% of respondents who do not plan to pursue a cybersecurity career didn’t feel they had adequate technical ability.

“Organizations are struggling to fill a shortage in cybersecurity professionals. In fact, a recent survey revealed that 45% of IT and cybersecurity professionals say that their organization has a problematic shortage of cybersecurity skills,” said Jon Oltsik, Senior Principal Analyst at ESG. “Rather than continue to talk about the skills gap, we need to start thinking about how to appeal to, educate, and recruit the next generation entering the workforce. This survey reveals some things that have the potential to attract millennials and post-millennials to jobs which could have a positive impact on the future of cybersecurity.”

Attitudes toward cybersecurity

The research explored millennials’ and post-millennials’ attitudes toward cybersecurity when VR and immersive technologies are present. Among the findings:

  • 77% said they would get more enjoyment from VR-based tools compared to desktop-based tools
  • 74% said VR would increase ease of use
  • 72% said it would increase their efficiency
  • Even among respondents who did not feel they have the technical aptitude for security jobs, 64% reported that access to VR and immersive technologies increase their likelihood of considering a job in cybersecurity.

Changing the paradigm: How VR and other immersive technologies can shift these barriers to entry

immersive technologies cybersecurity

When asked if VR tools would have changed a career decision to consider cybersecurity, a 24- year-old chef said, “If I had known these tools had been available it would have been something I pursued. Especially my generation, we have a greater understanding of technology, but we’re also very visual, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Seeing things through VR feels like … I’ve experienced it. It’s a great way to train someone, with how immersive it is.”

“Millennials and post-millennials grew up with Minecraft and Xbox, developing skills for spatial reasoning and collaboration in immersive environments that are now second nature,” said Scott Chasin, CEO at ProtectWise. “As the roles of threat hunter, responder and commander become more defined for enterprise security teams, their characteristics are aligning with these innate abilities, which enable more effective incident response. The cybersecurity industry must evolve to embrace technologies that attract and empower this next generation of talent.”

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