Knowing what I know today, if a 15-year-old asked me what she should be when she grows up, I’d say cybersecurity professional. The unfortunate fact is that bad guys are everywhere—and if you are in the security industry, bad guys are good for business.

There are many ways and resources for people, especially young adults, to become cybersmart. It’s more than a trend; it’s an up-and-coming career area. USA Today reports, “For younger people, there are a growing number of cybereducational opportunities, starting even before the college level, which can make them particularly effective at thwarting cyberattacks and may spark their desire to pursue cybersecurity careers.”

Resources to become a cybersecurity professional.

CyberPatriot: This is the premier national high school cyberdefense competition. It was created by the Air Force Association to inspire high school students toward careers in cybersecurity or other science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) disciplines critical to our nation’s future.

Maryland Cybersecurity Center (MC2): By targeting students as early as middle and high school, MC2 is stimulating early interest in the field of cybersecurity, providing students with the knowledge and preparation they need to be successful in their future post-secondary studies and eventual careers.

Center for Cybersecurity Education at the University of Dallas: This educational program has been designated by the National Security Agency (NSA) and Department of Homeland Security (DHS) as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Information Assurance.

Champlain College: This Vermont college provides a foundation for understanding how computers and networks communicate securely. It also builds on that foundation with courses designed to help students understand the nature and impact of cyberthreats, as well as how to prevent them.

Bellevue University Center for Cybersecurity: This Nebraska college’s center brings together the best cybersecurity education programs with highly qualified faculty who possess the kind of real-world experiences.

So do you have what it takes to be a chief security officer (CSO)? I believe CSOs are the future of technology, because without them, bad guys will take over technology and we will devolve into chaos.

Robert Siciliano, is a personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto and author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked! . Disclosures

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