Demand for cyber talent increases

In this growing field of cyber security, we are often overwhelmed when presented with new challenges, technological advances, and ever-increasing threats. One may have heard of Moore’s Law, the theory that technology advances, or doubles every eighteen months or so, and that can’t be closer to reality, at least as far as threats and risks go. To meet the increasing advancement in threats and vulnerabilities of systems that are hastily built and pushed out, IT leaders are scrambling to find talent and fill requisitions. The cyber sphere is in dire need of professionals who can rise to the challenge of learning quickly, applying skill effectively and providing value to the profession and the various industries served by cyber security professionals. Never has there been quite the drive for cyber talent, and along with the demand, a job deficit ten times larger than the available talent.  What one may notice by a quick Internet search is that, there are roughly three million unfulfilled cyber jobs, or by a rough estimate, twenty job openings for every one qualified candidate.

We are now faced with a few critical issues; the first being the growth and proliferation of web application, software, and personal vulnerabilities, the second being a lack of qualified individuals to combat this growth and finally, a shortage of quality programs in place to properly train and educate prospective cyber professionals. We are experiencing the single most crucial talent gap in the IT industry since the Commodore 64. It is our duty as IT professionals to find, cultivate and develop new talent and provide those prospective professionals with the tools and knowledge necessary to meet new threats head-on, and fill the employment void that exists.

To accomplish this, I think it’s critical for IT professionals to take the following steps:

  • Seek out interested individuals and take them on as mentees.

  • Connect those individuals with quality materials in their chosen area of interest

  • Provide guidance and training opportunities

  • Be a mentor and connect regularly, to track their growth

  • Become a resource for them once they are ready to take on a role befitting their skills

Now, more than ever, if individuals are looking for a successful career in a growing field, considering a role in cyber security is an infinitely prudent move. As roles change and needs of the market shift, there will be a need for adaptable, capable personnel ready to take on new challenges. The likelihood of job closure in the cyber field is almost non-existent, and the industry has not seen significant remission in many years. While some IT job sectors are moving overseas, the majority of opportunities are still within the U.S., and the demand is expected to steadily increase.

To summarize, the overwhelming demand for IT professionals is literally outpacing educational institutions’ abilities to churn out talent; that said, a decision to enter the cyber security field, even if only in an entry-level capacity is one of the best decisions an individual can make.

Aside from competitive pay in most fields, the upward mobility and opportunity for job role shifting are immense. Gone are the days of “choosing a profession and dying there;” we can now enjoy the luxury of going from position to position, practice to practice. I got my start in cloud technology, working closely with virtualization, and implementation within Amazon AWS and virtual desktop solutions. Within three years, I’ve been able to move into consulting, and now IT audit. Studying and preparing for a career in cyber has paid dividends that I haven’t even realized yet, namely, the ability to have incredible career flexibility.

Looking for a career change? Looking for job security? Looking for a career in cyber? Get trained, develop skills and get out there! For the cyber security candidate, I suggest the following:

  • Take the time to enroll in a quality training course

  • Find a mentor

  • Develop your skills in cyber, and find what really interests you

Following these simple steps will help you on the way to a fruitful, enjoyable career.

By: Patrick Ibrahim