Given the talent shortage in cyber security, with an anticipated 3.5 million unfilled jobs by 2021, encouraging new entrants will help get the industry onto more solid footing.

Hackathons serve a myriad of interests; they are a great way to encourage more diversity in the tech industry, to heighten confidence and skills in the sector, and to discover fresh talent.

Businesses that sponsor hackathons often pitch problems that they are trying to solve, and then challenge participants to design novel solutions. The atmosphere is fast-paced, and forces people to trade ideas, knowledge, and to become strong team players.

“…hackathons challenge people to develop concepts quickly that could work in the real world. They encourage attendees to think outside of what they know and what’s possible,” writes Security Boulevard.

The environment offers rich opportunities for learning and growth. As students acquire industry specific skills, they become marketable as job candidates. Sometimes, successful hackathon participants meet industry leaders, who are interested in extending career opportunities.

The payoffs of hackathons, for both the industry and enterprises, are not to be underestimated. Encouraging and rewarding innovation paves the way towards a more cyber secure future.

And another hackathon perk: giving away hundreds of t-shirts means a ton of free advertising.

Get the full story at Security Boulevard.