By our editorial partner Jooble, an international job search website.
The Rise in Cybersecurity Jobs
It seems as though new cyberattacks are reported every week. Since the pandemic began and companies were forced to move online, network security has been a paramount concern of both businesses and governments. It makes perfect sense, then, that hiring cybersecurity professionals has been a global focus and demand for cybersecurity professionals continues to rise.
Why Cybersecurity Jobs are on the Rise
The irony is that even well before the pandemic and the work-from-home ethic came about, cybersecurity experts were in high demand. Since the early 2000s, data theft and related reputational and financial losses have gained unprecedented momentum. As a response to this growing threat, the US government established the National Cyber Security Division in 2003. Additionally, Europe’s GDPR stipulates that companies of a certain size have a Data Protection Officer (DPO) who reports directly to the top management level. Thus, the government recognized the crucial role of cybersecurity.
Since technology continues to become more and more interwoven into the fabric of our daily lives, it comes as no surprise that data theft is impacting businesses and government organizations. Network infrastructure has, therefore, become as critical as ever. Throughout 2021, the U.S. has been on the alert because of reports of mass cyberattacks—JBS, the world’s largest meat producer, Kaseya, a global IT company, and Poly Network, a large cryptocurrency platform, have all been impacted. Government institutions are not immune to malicious activities: Take Ireland, whose healthcare system suffered a serious cyber incident back in May 2021 and is still dealing with its repercussions—all the more concerning given that healthcare is extremely vulnerable during the pandemic.
The tide does not seem to be subsiding either now or in the near future. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects a 33-percent increase in cybersecurity jobs until 2030—much larger than the average 8 percent in the overall jobs market. And (ISC)2, the world’s largest IT security organization, estimates there’s a global shortage of more than 2.9 million cybersecurity experts.
The problem is, cybersecurity jobs can be lucrative and job offers abound, but few people possess the qualifications and expertise that is needed for these positions. In many cases, required formal education includes at least a bachelor’s degree in programming, computer science, or a related field. Many employers—nearly 60 percent, to be more exact— ask for additional qualifications such as a Master of Business Administration in Information Systems, the Certified Ethical Hacker certification, the Certified Information Systems Security Professional (an international certification), and more. The number of requirements compounds the challenges with hiring such specialists and hints at the trend for cybersecurity skills shortage in the US and around the world.
Soft skills are no less important for a cybersecurity expert. These include analytical and detail-oriented thinking that help detect, prevent, and mitigate cyber threats; problem-solving and creativity; and last but not least, integrity and credibility, so that the employer can confide in the cyber security expert and ensure sensitive data is protected.
Jooble, one of the biggest job search engines worldwide, reports on the trend that a number of cybersecurity jobs, such as Cyber Threat Hunters, Digital Forensics Analysts, Malware Analysts, Cybersecurity Architect, and Information Security Analysts, are considered to be the highest-paying in the IT industry. Despite the compensation, and according to industry experts, companies are unable to fill their vacancies because there aren’t enough skilled candidates and those who do have the necessary skills, may not choose to pursue a career in cybersecurity.
The situation reflects the long-lasting crisis in the industry, with the hiring being slow and job requirements becoming more and more stringent.
What Cybersecurity Experts Do
In a nutshell, jobs in the field deal with safeguarding network infrastructure from both external and internal malicious influence. In practice, this involves a host of day-to-day activities which can be broadly divided into three categories—planning, monitoring, and prevention.
It is vital that an organization has a contingency plan in case of a cyber incident. Drafting such a plan and keeping it up-to-date is an integral part of a cybersecurity expert’s job. Typically, the plan would include shutting down the organization’s network and transferring critical data to a secure location so it can’t be accessed by hackers. Since cyberthreats—such as viruses and malicious software—are constantly evolving and human error is a constant risk factor, cybersecurity plans have to be constantly revised and tested.
That’s when monitoring kicks in. A cybersecurity professional is expected to know what potential risks might compromise an organization’s network integrity and what signals to look for when a security breach happens. Another important aspect is encouraging coworkers to follow cybersecurity guidelines and make a habit of reporting any suspicious network activity should one arise. These include threats such as phishing, identity theft, illegal authorization, etc. An unprepared employee might compromise the whole company by opening an attachment to a seemingly innocent email!
That cybersecurity is a dynamic field is undisputed. Not only are cyberthreats ubiquitous—cybersecurity tools are regularly outdated and updated as well. With so many information threats to monitor, a professional cybersecurity analyst is supposed to be aware and think ahead—so that malicious actors are thwarted before taking action. Incident prevention, therefore, is an important part of cybersecurity experts’ work.
What the Market Offers Cybersecurity Experts
Clearly, the cybersecurity job market is heavily undersaturated. Job seekers can expect a wide range of vacancies—from security analysts to security software developers and information security officers. Keep in mind that cybersecurity jobs, in fact, don’t commonly have the word ‘cybersecurity’ in their title. Positions such as Systems Administrator, Network Architect, Chief Privacy Officers are just a few examples. According to the (ISC)2 report mentioned above, the most wanted areas of cybersecurity expertise are related to risk assessment, cloud computing security, security monitoring, and incident investigation and response.
However you may feel about working as a cybersecurity professional, there’s one sure thing: The field shows every sign of expanding. A boom of vacancies coupled with the lack of qualified experts, means that Cybersecurity positions will continue to be in high demand for companies and governments around the world!