Concern continues to mount over the shortage of skilled cyber security experts. Companies across the globe, regardless of industry, are unable to source the talent they need to build defences against threats that are increasing in sophistication and volume. There is a disproportionate rise in threat levels and not enough people entering the workforce to address IT concerns, creating a cyber security job gap that seems to have no end in immediate sight. This also applies to marketers – how may martech experts also have cyber security credentials? Not many I’d guess.
A Hard Look at the Numbers
The Information Systems Security Association conducted a survey of cyber security professionals and came to the conclusion that as many as 70% of those questioned believed their organisation has felt the effects of the skill shortage. Close to 45% of respondents believe that the gap has increased in recent years. A marginal 7% believe things are improving. However, another survey estimated that around 4 million trained IT professionals would be needed to close the gap. This many jobs would increase the cyber security workforce by 62% within the USA alone.
A Look at Training Needs
If you haven’t settled on a career field, or you are looking to change to something that offers more job security, you should explore cyber security careers for a number of promising options. Though there are many aspects of security you can focus on, you will need to enrol in cyber training courses and earn your certification in areas of interest in order to get your foot in the door. If you have already been working in IT but haven’t been able to advance past an entry-level position, becoming familiar with the cyber security framework and threats is a great starting place. You can use advanced training courses to help you stand out from others in the field.
High quality training courses are the first step in bridging the cyber security gap, and there are plenty of ways to access this education. College programs, online organisations, and workplace retraining are just a few ways individuals can move into IT security. However, there is some concern that there is little room for real-world application in these programs, making continuing education (while in the field and on the job) another priority. Dark web threats and cybercriminals are evolving as rapidly as the technology they use, increasing the need for up-to-date training at all levels of IT involvement.
A Look at Factors Impacting the Gap
The cyber security landscape is constantly changing, and with those changes comes a critical need to continually assess talent and educate those entering the profession. Surveys of current cyber security professionals indicate there are several factors contributing to the skill gap. These include:
• IT workers don’t have a specific career path
• Lack of access to basic cyber security certifications
• Inability to find a mentor or rely on peer support
• Difficulty landing a cyber security internship
A majority of IT workers started their careers handling more basic security functions and IT roles, yet as the threats rose and companies were left exposed, many of these individuals were thrown into more advanced roles without proper training. Other professionals thought of moving into cyber security for the career potential, yet they didn’t spend the time systematically developing their skills. Proficiency, when learning on the fly, can take years. This on its own becomes a major security threat. Formal training reduces this liability.
Another factor is business executives’ lack of awareness of the importance of information security. Without a top-down approach to education and instruction, cyber specialists within the company may be trying to handle both operations and the instruction of their peers. This scattered response leaves too many areas unaddressed, and those who could succeed in a cyber security role may never get the opportunity to learn. Organisational priority toward cyber threats and security should make training a priority both for those coming into the company and those already established in their positions.
A Look at Your Future
As an IT professional or someone looking to make a career in the IT security field, you don’t need to wait on a company to send you to school or walk you through their cyber defence program. Your career advancement is your responsibility, and you can give yourself a better reputation over the competition when you enrol in cyber certification courses on your own. Look for programs that emphasise practical, hands-on learning.
Your education will increase your hiring potential and help bridge the gap in cyber security jobs.