There’s a shortfall of cybersecurity professionals globally, so we’re helping introduce kids to STEM early – and inspiring innovation along the way.
Eric Commodore, a director in BNY Mellon Technology, has spent his summers discussing topics like cyber ethics, robotics and digital forensics with teenagers who want to learn more about cybersecurity and technology. He believes that having a steady stream of capable individuals trained in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields is vital to all of our futures, and so does BNY Mellon.
As technology permeates our lives, the demand for experts who can protect information and systems vital to society is outpacing the supply. Research shows a shortfall of almost three million cybersecurity professionals globally, with more than 60 percent of companies saying they don’t have enough dedicated cybersecurity staff.1
To stimulate young people’s interest in cybersecurity and bring them into the talent pipeline early, BNY Mellon provides funding for CyberPatriot, the National Youth Cyber Education Program created by the Air Force Association. CyberPatriot inspires K–12 students in the U.S. to pursue careers in cybersecurity or other STEM disciplines. Students are introduced to exciting, lucrative careers and learn teamwork and organizational skills that set them apart in the STEM job market.
At the center of CyberPatriot is the National Youth Cyber Defense Competition. The competition puts teams of students in the position of newly hired IT professionals tasked with managing the network of a small company. Teams are given a set of virtual images that represent operating systems and are tasked with finding cybersecurity vulnerabilities within the images and hardening the system while maintaining critical services. Top teams in the nation can earn national recognition and scholarship money.
Of the 20,000–30,000 students who participate in the CyberPatriot program annually, 40 percent are minorities and 23 percent are female, a notable figure in an industry where only 11 percent of the workforce are women.2 More than 85 percent of alumni respondents currently pursuing higher education degrees are doing so in a cybersecurity (28 percent), computer science (35 percent) or other STEM fields (25 percent), compared to the national average of only 15 percent. BNY Mellon’s funding will contribute to the expansion of CyberPatriot programs nationwide.
Commodore has been volunteering with the organization since 2010. “I’m honored to be part of an organization that leverages young people’s innovation, motivation and patriotism,” he said. “Whether students enter the military, government or private sector, we need their skills for the future wellbeing of our country and the economy.”