Profiling cybersecurity competition participants: Self-efficacy, decision-making and interests predict effectiveness of competitions as a recruitment tool

Masooda Bashir, Colin Wee, Nasir Memon, Boyi Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper presents the main results of a large-scale survey on cybersecurity competition participants in the past decade. 588 participants of the Cybersecurity Awareness Week (CSAW) competition were surveyed with measures of personality, interests, culture, decision-making and attachment styles in an exploratory study designed to identify the characteristics of cybersecurity competition participants. Subgroups analyses were performed to examine individual differences between self-proclaimed hackers and non-hackers, males and females, and cybersecurity employees versus students. Regression analyses were used to identify variables that influenced the extent to which cybersecurity competitions were effective at convincing participants to pursue a future career in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity participants who displayed higher self-efficacy, rational decision-making style, and more investigative interests were more likely to declare an interest in a career in cybersecurity after the competition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)153-165
Number of pages13
JournalComputers and Security
StatePublished - Mar 1 2017



  • Career choice
  • Cybersecurity
  • Cybersecurity competitions
  • Human factors
  • Information assurance
  • Recruitment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science(all)
  • Law

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