An exploration of the awareness and attitudes of psychology students regarding their psychological literacy for working in the cybersecurity industry

Jacqui Taylor, Monica Whitty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

We propose that psychology graduates are uniquely placed to work in the cybersecurity industry due to their understanding of human behavior and the possession of skills needed to address cybersecurity issues. However, there are challenges in attracting psychology graduates to the cybersecurity industry as they may not be fully aware of how skills developed in a psychology degree can be applied to a cybersecurity career. This small-scale evaluation explored psychology students' understanding of what working in cybersecurity entailed and what psychology skills and knowledge (their psychological literacies) they thought were needed for working in psychology and cybersecurity roles. Undergraduate psychology students (N = 66) answered two open-ended questions about skills needed to work in cybersecurity and then judged the importance of nine psychological literacy items for working in cybersecurity and psychology. A content analysis revealed that students recognized not just the technical aspects of cybersecurity work but also aspects relating to human behavior. Seven of the nine psychological literacy items were perceived as significantly more important for working in psychology than cybersecurity. This study is the first to link psychological literacy to working in cybersecurity. The implications of the results are discussed in terms of supporting students to recognize their psychological literacies for cybersecurity careers and suggestions are made for awareness-raising initiatives.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages17
JournalPsychology Learning and Teaching
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 17 Nov 2023

Keywords

  • careers
  • Cybersecurity
  • employability
  • human factors
  • psychological literacy
  • social engineering

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