According to research by Gartner, the cybersecurity market is en route to swelling by 80% by 2027 to reach a valuation of over $400 billion. This is because there is a perpetually growing need to hire remote software developers and cybersecurity experts thanks to cyber criminals. These agents continue to upgrade and renew their hacking capabilities and keep up the threat that they pose to the security of businesses, institutions, and individuals.
With a rise in remote work and an increased tendency for everyone to manage and conduct their work online, it is important to strengthen our company’s fortification against any security breach. Add to that the cybersecurity skill shortage that industries are now having to deal with, there is a surge in demand for professionals in this niche.
Increase in Cyber Attacks
The number of cyber-attacks keeps growing every year. The past two years alone saw the frequency of major cyber attacks go up to as high as almost 300 out of which almost 10% are successful in achieving their malicious intent.
Remember that remote work also means remote hacking. Companies, big or small, startups or enterprises, need to be wary of security breaches more than ever and ensure that they have appropriate data protection safeguards in place.
Your security is at risk even if you don’t conduct the major bulk of your production or service delivery online. Any kind of cloud-based application that you use for data storage, digital payment networks, websites, intranets, and/or phone applications means that you are, in some way or another, prey for cyber agents with malicious intent.
Add to that the newfound powers of artificial intelligence and machine learning, hackers and cybercriminals will leave no stone unturned in ensuring that they have the best and most effective means to reach their questionable goals.
Because of this, the demand for cybersecurity experts is expected to grow steeply over the net five years.
Cybersecurity Skill Shortage
Another area of concern is the labor supply in the cybersecurity niche. The United States has 600,000 cybersecurity job openings. This includes smaller businesses, enterprises and even government institutions. In fact, in a report by ISSA.ESG, it is concluded that 44% of respondents were already concerned that the skill shortage had become very serious and that the consequences of this were already starting to become evident.
There are two ways to look at the skill shortage: one where we analyze the number of cybersecurity professionals in the labor market, and the other where we evaluate the demand side and determine how it is contributing to this disquilibrium.
To tackle the first, we must look towards educational institutions and understand whether they are imparting the right skills to those studying this field or not. Are there enough universities that have the appropriate degree curricula and professional certifications that can match the demand in the market? MIT, for example, has a certification offered in Applied Cybersecurity that professionals in this field can take. It is essential that other higher education institutions also have courses and certifications for not only their student body but also for professionals actively working in this industry. Cybersecurity standards and practices develop and change rapidly which is where our next point comes in.
The onus of building the skills and professional prowess of individuals should not entirely be on educational institutions. Employers and businesses have a role to play as well.
The Role of Businesses in Improving Cybersecurity
Firstly, many cybersecurity professionals leave their jobs in search of better ones because their skill sets are disproportionately undervalued. According to the report cited above, 38% of those in the field felt that they were not compensated fairly enough for them to continue working in the same roles while 33% chose to switch employers owing to better pay.
Secondly, keeping in mind the evolving and fickle nature of cybersecurity standards, companies need to invest in the training and skill development of employees so that their knowledge does not become redundant every time a hacker comes up with a new way to breach company data. This is perhaps a harsh reality of working in this industry, but what you learned about data security ten years ago is probably something that hackers know how to get around.
Keeping one’s skills up to date is critical and it is the job of businesses and employers to ensure that their cybersecurity teams are getting at least 40 hours of training each year.
In conclusion, the high demand for cybersecurity engineers is led by a range of factors that needs to be addressed through a combined effort of higher educational institutions, businesses and the individuals themselves. The malicious agents that create this demand are relentless and extremely determined to up their game regularly. A focused effort towards skill building and investment in the resources for cybersecurity are the only way forward to ensure that market equilibrium is maintained and security and data breaches prevented.