Enhancing the Cyber Security Workforce—The Human Angle

Time Frame


Total Funding to Date



  • Masooda Bashir

The United States is a world leader in technological innovation. However, as our technology has advanced, the need for cyber security experts has increased dramatically. Unfortunately, the U.S. lacks the cyber security workforce needed to manage many of the threats our society faces.

One method used to attract talented individuals to careers in cyber security has been the organization of cyber security competitions. Such contests aim to train the next generation of cyber security specialists using hands-on competition. Examining the overall effectiveness of cyber security competitions and expanding our understanding of the individuals who participate are keys to future success in cyber security recruitment.

Using a carefully constructed survey, the researchers will assess the overall impact of these competitions and obtain useful information about participants’ aptitudes, personality traits, cognitive styles, career aspirations, and more. That information will not only assist efforts to attract more people to the cyber security industry, it will allow for the design and execution of challenges that better attract women and minorities, two constituencies visibly underrepresented in cyber security.  Additionally, our initial findings will help guide researchers in social psychology, pedagogy, aptitude testing, and occupational research in developing large-scale longitudinal studies to further study the effectiveness of these competitions and how they might be used to attract talented individuals to careers in cyber security.

Funding Agencies

  • National Science Foundation, 2013 – $161,708.00