This is the perfect time to launch a career in cybersecurity. Cybersecurity specialists are some of the most sought after and in demand professionals in the job market. Long gone are the days where medical and healthcare practitioners dominated the standings for highest paying and most desired occupations. These days, as more and more Government agencies, corporations, and even small businesses owners are turning to the internet to conduct business, the need for cybersecurity professionals has also increased exponentially. According to the Ponemon Institute, the average cost of a cyber breach has reached highs of $3.8 million in 2015, which was a 23% increase from the last two years. With so much sensitive and personally identifiable information (PII) floating online, hackers are targeting online resources to exploit this private data. However, as hacking sophistication and innovation continues to grow, this can negatively affect many Government agencies and businesses monetarily. This is why the need for more competent and highly trained cyber professionals is the most sought after job and this does not seem to show any signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Cybersecurity is the Job of the Future
Whenever a website is hacked by a cyber criminal, almost all stakeholders involved will feel its ill effects. From a company’s CEO all the way down to the general website visitor who innocently checks out an infected website. Common cyber hacks, such as DDoS or SQL Injections, can lead to more severe problems like sensitive data exposure, identity theft, website defacement, etc. Any website owner or business that maintains an online presence should place protecting user data at the top of their list of priorities. As we’ve all witnessed in 2015, many major corporations are just as vulnerable to cyber attacks as any generic website. The good news is many organizations are starting to take notice by learning from these major data breaches and have started to place more pressure on the job market. As more and more news regarding cyber attacks are disseminated throughout major media publications, organizations will make hiring quality information security professionals one of their highest priority needs. Here are 3 reasons why cybersecurity jobs will dominate as the top career choice of the future.
1. Demand Outweighs Supply…By Far
According to research conducted by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 209,000 cybersecurity job postings were left unfilled in 2015. Additionally, cybersecurity job postings have increased a whopping 74% over the past five years. In terms of actual cybersecurity related jobs being created, Forbes is also forecasting that there will be close to one million cybersecurity job openings in 2016. The sheer need and volume of cybersecurity related openings will continue to increase in the coming years as technology becomes more integrated in users’ lives and hacking methodologies become more complex. More specifically, cybersecurity job growth has increased 3.5 times faster than any other IT related job and roughly 12 times faster than all other jobs (irrespective of the field). Within the next 10 years, the immense surplus of security related jobs will negatively affect all industries as companies and small businesses must constantly seek or grossly overpay for a competent information security professional. This is why we need to place a large emphasis on bridging the gap between cybersecurity demand and skillful supply.
The one question most readers may ask is, “why is there such a disproportionate gap between jobs and people to fill those jobs?” Well, first, the issue could be that major publications make it a point to utilize scare tactics or only shed light on the damage done by web attackers. They rarely provide any value added suggestions or tips that could substantially help users place preventative measures against web hacking. Furthermore, the lack of talented information security professionals could be attributed to an overall lack of cybersecurity education. Most users and even enterprises typically put cybersecurity on the backburner for a variety of reasons. For example, they might feel that information security is just too difficult of a topic to tackle, they place the responsibility or accountability of security onto others, and, worst of all, they take a more reactive approach rather than a preemptive approach. To shed more light on the last point, the majority of users only worry about cybersecurity when attacks happen. This is the biggest problem of all. Once an attack occurs, a team of specialists that could be ultimately working toward a security patch or update could leave a business vulnerable to zero-day exploits. Also, this requires even more resources, time, and money to help mitigate the cyber issues. What people need to realize is that cybersecurity is an ongoing task. There must be preemptive measures in place, namely a team of skillful security specialists, in order to properly prepare for a prospective attack. Enterprises and small business owners are only starting to realize this fact right now.
2. Earning Top Dollar
As the overwhelming demand for information security professionals continues to grow, so are the overall salaries of cyber professionals. Currently, the average top cybersecurity salaries in major metropolitan cities is approaching close to $380,000 a year. The demand for cyber professionals has driven the price for their services to even exceed the salaries of esteemed surgeons and anesthesiologists. For example, top level cybersecurity jobs earn approximately 54% more than the average anesthesiologist, who checks in at approximately $246,320 annually. This large spike in salaries has gotten many in the industry to take notice. Veronica Mollica, founder of the information security recruiting firm Indigo Partners, claims that the cybersecurity job market is “on fire”. As cyber attacks continue to hit record highs, the demand for cyber professionals to help counteract these attacks will steadily rise. The market alone and the intriguing prospects of a long term career should attract many potential candidates to steer their careers towards this field.
3. Educational Institutions Are Slowing Catching On
Although there is a large discrepancy between the demand for security professionals and the actual existence of quality candidates, there are organizations and institutions that are trying to help ease this gap. For instance, the University of Central Missouri has recently announced its intentions to offer both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in cybersecurity. Many Universities are starting to take leadership roles within the cybersecurity landscape as they themselves are major victims of web hackers. In 2015 alone, Rutgers University experienced a slew of DDoS attacks and were targeted six times in a span of only three short semesters. Universities are major targets as they are highly authoritative and influential websites that attract a large volume of web traffic. In addition, these sites are a goldmine for administrative and student personal information.
Due to their first hand experiences dealing with web attacks, Universities are now fighting back by helping to train the next generation of cyber professionals, as well as respond to national and state wide needs to fill security related job openings. Colleges, such as the University of Central Missouri, is actively promoting cybersecurity as a necessary profession for the future. As mentioned above, they are helping to shift the focus from a reactive to a more preemptive approach towards safeguarding our private data online. Preparing students from a young age will not only train the next generation of cyber professionals, but will also provide a major boost to an already thriving cybersecurity job market. One should fully expect this field to continue to gain more prominence as the sheer interest, activism, and education of new cyber professionals begins to increase.
The fight against next generation hackers need to be countered with well prepared, highly skilled, and fully trained security professionals. Companies are no longer just sitting on the sidelines and waiting for attacks to occur. These days, many enterprises are placing a greater importance on being fully prepared prior to any web attacks that may occur on their website. This has ultimately led to the explosion of the cybersecurity job market that seems to only be growing by the minute. Get started on your career in cybersecurity today!