It is a great time to be a cybersecurity professional. Between the nullification of Safe Harbor and the increased prevalence of massive data breaches, data privacy is now a top priority on every organization’s IT agenda, and major enterprises care about securing their corporate data more than ever. To these entities, as a cybersecurity pro, you are a savior. After all, your skills are in very high demand – and that’s an understatement.
According to Burning Glass, there were 238,158 job openings related to cybersecurity last year, which represents 11 percent of the IT industry’s open positions. This means that the demand for security pros has exploded, expanding three times more rapidly than the need for IT professionals in general between 2010 and 2014. As a result of this business necessity, organizations have started to offer cybersecurity pros a salary that averages about $6,500 more than other tech sector jobs.
To many of you, this might not come as a surprise. After all, you recognize the value of skills, but do you realize that certain industries are experiencing more demand than others? Specifically, Burning Glass found that financial firms have increased cybersecurity pro hiring rates by 137 percent since 2010, while health care and retail also have a business need for individuals with security skills.
“230,000 cybersecurity jobs are open right now.”
This year, you’re just as likely to be in high demand. According to CIO magazine, cybersecurity pros are required so badly that the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education is investing in a project that will provide the industry with a “heat map visualization tool” that will highlight where unfilled cybersecurity roles are geographically located. Right now, the source notes that 230,000 of those jobs are open, which is twice as many as the demand in 2010 and 2011.
However, you shouldn’t count on this demand to stay steady over the next 10 years. Michael Brown, CEO of Symantec, told Fox Business that by 2019, there will be 1.5 million cybersecurity roles available for professionals, but the skills gap is likely to close. The source explained the findings of a Raytheon survey: Forty-one percent of millennials are willing to work in the cybersecurity sector, with 33 percent of this generation’s’ females and 51 percent of males indicating an interest in cybersecurity professions.
With Fred Chang, the director of Southern Methodist University’s Cybersecurity Institute, telling Fox Business that the U.S. needs 1.5 times as many potential cybersecurity pros in school to fulfill 2020’s demands, this means that the demand could be met successfully.
Helping the younger generation
While millennials could certainly fill the skills gap, that doesn’t mean that you’ll be out of a job. In fact, it means the opposite. You will likely be working alongside the next generation of cybersecurity pros in only a few years, but millennials might need some assistance getting into the professional aspect of this sector, and not because they don’t like “hacking.”
Security Debrief contributor Meghan Mitchum discussed a panel that she attended at the National Cyber Security Alliance’s “Talent Hack” event, in which panelists asserted that finding cybersecurity talent is particularly challenging because the typical millennial hacker likes operating “independently.” Instead of working for the public sector, per say, they would rather hack in opposition – to millennials, black hats are more interesting than white ones.
In that regard, by helping these individuals avoid the dark side of cybersecurity, you could be making your job easier in the long run. But, all jokes aside, you will play a critical role in ushering in the new generation of cybersecurity pros, and this means that you should attend hackathons, work with these individuals and help hiring managers onboard them.