cybersecurity careers

Why You Need to be in Cybersecurity

We’re all fools.

There’s an industry with a 2 percent unemployment rate and a median salary that’s over $80,000. The day-to-day tasks involve protecting people, with the added bonus of minimal risk of bodily harm. But we won’t touch it with a ten-foot pole.

This week’s theme for National Cyber Security Awareness Month – Consider a Career in Cybersecurity – asks us to think about jobs in cybersecurity. Here’s why we aren’t, and more importantly, why we should be.

The Skill Gap

The “skill gap” has been a persistent problem in hiring for cybersecurity roles. In the United States companies fail to fill roughly 200,000 cybersecurity-related positions each year, and things won’t get better anytime soon. It’s worth noting that this hiring gap isn’t specific to cybersecurity – it’s a larger issue in the field of computer science.

However, the hiring for cybersecurity positions compounds already-present hiring problems. It’s hard enough to fill traditional computer science jobs, but the reason that cybersecurity is even harder to fill is that the field itself is relatively new.

But that skill gap will be temporary. These jobs are hard to fill right now, but it’s only because the future cybersecurity officers are still in the academic pipeline. If you’re even thinking about it right now, it would behoove you to move quickly before the rush of computer science “whippersnappers” matriculates.

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The Recruitment Process

According to Indeed, only seven out of 10 job postings involving cybersecurity even get clicked on. You’d think that with all of these benefits, people would at least be interested in these types of job, but the recruitment process presents some barriers.

The biggest issue lies in the fact that cybersecurity is so new. Only 7 percent of cybersecurity professionals are under the age of 29, and a big portion of the cybersecurity workforce is set to retire soon. Millennials are desirable to organizations in cybersecurity, but those hiring managers don’t know how to market these jobs to them. It’s hard to know what skills to ask for, particularly since the skills required for cybersecurity were mostly gained through experience, something that’s changing with universities’ growing interest in the field.

Perhaps that will be the silver lining to a banner year for security breaches. Young people are seeing the effects of poor security practices, and hopefully, that means they will see that we need their expertise. The boom in interest in computer science suggests that they’re catching on.

The Career Path

One of the other variables about cybersecurity hiring that often gets overlooked is the fact that the career path isn’t very clear. Over 80 percent of people who are in cybersecurity started in other fields, such as IT. This means that the field itself hasn’t had time to develop a clear trajectory, which could turn off potential candidates who want their careers to follow a particular path.

Of course, the flip side of this is that if there isn’t a clear path, people can start to make their own. A person could work for the NSA, Amazon, or independently as a contractor. A person could work on network security or software or biometrics. The path is unpaved, and there are plenty of places to take it.

The Takeaway

We’ve experienced many leaks and security breaches in 2017, and those are just the ones that we know of. The world is only becoming more connected, and each additional point of contact is a security flashpoint between hackers and cybersecurity experts. We’ve never needed this expertise more, which is why it’s imperative that people go into cybersecurity.

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