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Survey: Cybersecurity 'Most Daunting' Challenge

globe surrounded with security symbols

Worldwide health concerns aside, cybersecurity is the "most daunting challenge," according to a survey of engineers around the globe. One in five (19 percent) recently chose securing cyberspace as the biggest challenge that engineers will face over the next 25 years. That was followed by development of "economical clean energy, mentioned by 18 percent; sustaining land and oceans, chosen by 16 percent; and creating "sustainable and resilient infrastructure" (11 percent).

The survey, which included 10,077 respondents from 119 countries, was undertaken by DiscoverE, an organization that works to draw young people into the engineering field.

What could hold them back from addressing these challenges? A shortage of engineers now (mentioned by 52 percent) and in the future (54 percent), and a lack of government support.

"Solving the world's problems is an enormous collaborative undertaking involving both the public and private sectors and extending across disciplines, borders and demographics," said Kathy Renzetti, executive director of DiscoverE, in a statement.

"Engineers are the world's problem solvers, yet engineering is often overlooked or under-appreciated as providing the solution to major challenges such as climate change, digitalization and food security," added Gong Ke, president of the World Federation of Engineering Organizations (WFEO).

At the behest of the WFEO, the UNESCO General Conference named March 4 as "World Engineering Day," in recognition of engineers and their role in solving big problems and to encourage students to study in the field.

The same survey found that engineers rated their level of optimism at 62 (on a scale of one to 100) for tackling global problems. Their votes for the top three innovations that could turn science fiction into reality were transportation, artificial intelligence and space travel.

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @schaffhauser.

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