Understanding the Personality Characteristics of Cybersecurity Competition Participants to Improve the Effectiveness of Competitions as Recruitment Tools

Conference paper
Part of the Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing book series (AISC, volume 501)


This paper reports on the results of a survey designed to study the psychological characteristics of a sample of cybersecurity competition participants from Cybersecurity Awareness Week (one of the largest cybersecurity competitions in the USA). By comparing the personality, vocational interests, culture, decision-making style and attachment style between participants who reported their intention to enter cybersecurity careers post-competition and those who did not, we evaluated the effectiveness of cybersecurity competitions as a recruitment tool. Overall, most cybersecurity competition participants tended to be high in openness, rational decision-making style, and investigative interests. Conversely, participants scored lower on neuroticism, intuitive decision-making style, and realistic interests. Individuals’ scores on investigative interests, openness to experience, rational decision-making, and self-efficacy were good predictors of their intention to enter cybersecurity careers post-competition. To increase the influx of people into cybersecurity careers, cybersecurity competitions can be designed to attract more people with these characteristics.


Cybersecurity Cybersecurity competitions Career choice Human factors 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Graduate School of Library and Information ScienceUniversity of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignChampaignUSA

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