New research shows that millennials/post-millennials are more likely to embrace a cybersecurity career with rich interfaces and VA/AR technologies.

The Immersive Technologies and the Future of Cybersecurity from ProtectWise revealed that nearly three quarters of respondents (74%) say the presence of VR tools increase their likelihood of pursuing cybersecurity careers.

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. Sixty-five percent 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 survey1 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."

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

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, Co-founder and 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." 

The Immersive Technologies and the Future of Cybersecurity survey was conducted by ESG on behalf of ProtectWise. The survey was taken online by 524 technology-oriented millennials and post-millennials between July 17, 2017 and August 1, 2017.