Does where you go to college matter when it comes to finding a cybersecurity job? We decided to do an in-depth analysis to find out.
Using LinkedIn's Alumni tool, we examined over 12,471 alumni profiles from major U.S. colleges from 2000 to 2023. We also surveyed 436 cybersecurity professionals to collect a well-rounded view of the industry and its anticipated trajectory. Join us as we uncover the universities producing top-tier job candidates, nurturing female leadership, and shaping the future of cybersecurity.
- Carnegie Mellon has the most cybersecurity professionals per 10,000 alumni (263).
- Of the cybersecurity specialist alumni analyzed, only 21% are women.
- Emory has the most female cybersecurity alumni (43%), followed by Northeastern (35%).
- Nearly one-third of female cybersecurity professionals said they have experienced gender bias at their workplace.
Which colleges have the most cybersecurity alumni?
When it comes to cybersecurity education, certain institutions stand out as prolific producers of professionals who safeguard our digital spaces. Let's explore the colleges that have made significant contributions to the cybersecurity field, showcasing the numbers within their impressive alumni networks.
Among the prestigious institutions studied, Carnegie Mellon emerged as a powerhouse, boasting an impressive 263 cybersecurity professionals per 10,000 alumni. Their top rank is a testament to the university's commitment to nurturing future defenders of the digital realm. On the other end of the spectrum, we have UCLA, with a modest 41 cybersecurity alumni per 10,000—the lowest number among all the schools in our study.
As for the Ivy League, Stanford had the highest number of cybersecurity professionals per 10,000 alumni (146). And despite Yale having the fewest among the most elite alumni in the country (69), 7% of all cybersecurity CEOs and founders were Yale alumni. Wesleyan University's cybersecurity alumni also showcased leadership and the entrepreneurial spirit, with one in 10 being company owners or presidents.
As we venture into the realm of technical schools, Carnegie Mellon comes to the forefront with an impressive 263 cybersecurity professionals per 10,000 alumni. The California Institute of Technology is next, with 244, and the Georgia Institute of Technology rounds off this impressive trio with 233. No matter their contributions, all the institutions studied deserve recognition for furnishing the industry with the minds that keep our digital world secure.
The landscape for women in cybersecurity
Gender diversity and inclusivity in education and the workplace are pivotal factors for driving innovation and progress in cybersecurity. We'll next look at women in cybersecurity, shedding light on their representation, challenges, and contributions in this rapidly changing industry.
Only 21% of the cybersecurity alumni identified in our study were women. Emory and Northeastern universities shone as leaders in this regard, as 43% and 35% of their alumni in the cybersecurity field were female, respectively. However, the journey toward inclusivity wasn't uniform across all institutions; just 10% of cybersecurity alumni from the University of Iowa were women, the lowest percentage of all schools studied.
These statistics underscore the importance of fostering an environment that encourages and empowers women to excel in the cybersecurity sector, especially considering that just one in four cybersecurity manager roles were held by females. In an industry traditionally dominated by men, the tides are shifting and the narrative is evolving, with stories of female founders in the cybersecurity industry emerging.
Yet, challenges persist, with 31% of female cybersecurity professionals reporting instances of gender bias in the workplace. This finding underscores the urgent need for cultivating inclusive environments that prioritize the equitable treatment of all. As the industry makes strides towards greater inclusivity, these insights remind us that diversity isn't just a buzzword—it's a crucial ingredient for innovation and progress.
Navigating the currents of cybersecurity professionalism
Amid the ever-accelerating technological shifts, cybersecurity professionals are at the forefront, adapting to changes and addressing challenges head-on. In the following section, we measure the pulse of the industry, exploring the anticipated shifts, personal reflections, and workplace dynamics that shape the journey of cybersecurity experts.
According to our survey respondents, two predominant forces are driving pivotal transformations in cybersecurity: the rapid advancement of technology and escalating cyber threats due to the evolution of artificial intelligence (AI). Over one-quarter also expressed concerns about understaffing at work, and almost one-third confessed they felt burnt out. These stressors might be why 10% of professionals regretted going into cybersecurity, and 13% were contemplating changing jobs within the next six months.
Despite industry challenges, it's heartening to note that a significant 90% of cybersecurity specialists didn't regret their choice to pursue cybersecurity careers. In addition, nearly 20% were very satisfied with their work-life balance, but there's clearly room for improvement. Striking a balance between the relentless pace of advancing technology and personal well-being must remain an ongoing industry-wide pursuit to retain employees and ensure continued online protection.
Building a resilient future in cybersecurity
Our analysis reveals a blend of trends and challenges defining the cybersecurity industry today. The rise of AI ushers in new horizons, yet gender biases persist. The drive and dedication of cybersecurity experts shine through, even as issues of staffing and burnout loom large.
Looking forward, the need for continuous learning takes center stage. To strengthen our digital future, a collective commitment to nurturing talent, breaking biases, and ensuring the well-being of professionals is vital. We must ensure that the guardians of our digital world remain strong, resilient, and motivated as they navigate this evolving landscape.
We scraped over 12,471 alumni profiles from major U.S. colleges from 2000-2023 to gain insights into the cybersecurity industry. We filtered for cybersecurity professionals for each college. Data from LinkedIn was obtained in August, 2023. We then used Gender API to guess the gender of each name. Gender API is AI-powered and estimates whether a first name is more likely to be used by males or females. The number of profiles analyzed for gender breakdowns ranged from 48 - 261 per college. Amongst all profiles, 71% were males, 21% females, and 8% were unknown. We also conducted a survey of 436 cybersecurity professionals.
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Fair use statement
We encourage you to share these findings with fellow cybersecurity professionals and leaders for any noncommercial purpose. We just ask that you link back to this page for the full results and methodology.