University of Phoenix released the results of its annual cybersecurity survey, which examined U.S. adults’ perceptions of aspects of cybersecurity, including career familiarity, gender disparity and workplace readiness. The survey polled 2,000 U.S. adults, of which 859 have been hacked in the past three years.


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The survey found that the majority of U.S. adults lack familiarity with 11 jobs in the industry queried in the survey amid a rise in cyber-attacks.[1]

U.S. adults’ familiarity with cybersecurity job titles:


Job Title

Never Heard of

Very Familiar

Penetration tester Evaluates the security of an IT infrastructure by safely trying to exploit vulnerabilities.



“White hat” ethical hacker Accesses protected systems and networks to test and assess their security.



Computer security incident responder – Assesses and manages the aftermath of a security breach or cyberattack.



Security architect –Maintains the security of a company's computer system.



Security auditor –Tests, assesses and evaluates an organization’s system or application.



Security engineer – Builds and maintains IT security solutions for an organization.



Chief information security officer – Senior-level executive responsible for developing and implementing an information security program.



Computer forensics expert – Retrieves information from computers and other types of data storage devices that have been hacked to provide as evidence suitable for presentation in a court of law.



Security consultant – Provides security advice on how to assess software, networks and computer systems for inabilities.



Security analyst – Reviews and analyzes IT environments/infrastructures for information security design, implementation and maintenance-related processes.



Security software developer – Creates and maintains reliable software that facilitates the security of the organization.




80 percent of U.S. adults have never considered a career in cybersecurity

When asked why they had never considered a career in cybersecurity, respondents said that they do not have the proper skills to become a cybersecurity professional or had no interest in the field.

Regardless of whether respondents had considered a career in cybersecurity, U.S. adults said that they would need to have the following important information in their decision-making process, if they were to pursue a career.

U.S. adults who are interested in a career could tap into some of the skills they already possess. According to the survey, more than a quarter of respondents said that they possess the following IT skills.

Women continue to be underrepresented in the cybersecurity workforce

Women comprise just 14 percent of the U.S. cybersecurity workforce,[2] emphasizing the need for gender balance to improve national security.[3]

Few Respondents believe that their company is very prepared for a cyber-attack

Only a third of U.S. adults are confident that their company is prepared to combat hackers. Of the respondents who do not believe their company is prepared for a cyber-attack, a quarter (26 percent) said that it is because they do not have an expert on staff.


This survey was conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of University of Phoenix between April 26 and May 10, 2018, among 2,000 US adults aged 18 and older, who work full-time, part-time, are self-employed, are unemployed looking for work, students, or homemakers, of which 859 have been hacked in the past three years. Figures for number of employees were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online. For complete survey methodology, including weighting variables, please contact Cooper Nelson at