The skills gap in enterprise applies to more than job postings. Your own level of expertise might well be lacking. Here’s how you can tell if it is – and what to do about it.
By 2019, infosec advocacy group ISACA predicts that we will see a global worker shortage of 2 million in the cybersecurity space. That number may seem overlarge, but it’s not entirely without precedent. The unfortunate truth is that technology has moved faster than most businesses – and professionals – could adapt.
If you still aren’t totally convinced, I have a few statistics that might change your mind. Over 40,000 information security analyst positions go unfilled in the United States annually, and over 200,000 other cybersecurity roles lack qualified applicants. For every ten cybersecurity job listings on Indeed, only seven people bother clicking – and fewer still apply.
In short, the cybersecurity market is a desert when it comes to skilled professionals – and there couldn’t be a worse time for such a climate. We are living in an era where cyber attacks are more frequent than they’ve ever been, where hackers are becoming exponentially more skilled and sophisticated, and where global threats like WannaCry are a fact of life. We need to bridge the skills gap – of that, there can be no doubt.
Plenty of publications have already suggested some unorthodox solutions to the issue. Some have suggested hiring from non-standard industries like music or the military. These are industries where although people might not have fostered cybersecurity expertise, they have the necessary skillset to develop it.
Others have recommended addressing the growing gender gap in tech – an issue which is growing steadily worse, and one which goes hand-in-hand with the skills gap. At the time of writing, only 11% of security professionals are women. And there are countless obstacles to women looking for a career in tech.
These are all good suggestions. And they are all things that I believe businesses should seriously consider. But they also ignore something critical: that existing IT staff like ourselves are part of the problem, too.
Let me ask you something – when’s the last time you set out to learn a new system or language? When was the last time you, of your own volition, decided to teach yourself something new about cybersecurity or ensured you stayed abreast of new technology like artificial intelligence?
If you’re like most professionals, the answer is probably somewhere between “never” and “I don’t remember.” And that needs to change. Because not only can you help close one of the most dangerous enterprise skill gaps, you’ll make a premium doing so.
Here are a few sage words of advice to help you along on your path:
- Seek Certification. Jobs like cybersecurity analysts or managers often require certifications like CISSP or CISM. Do a bit of research into which certifications are the best-known and most-respected, and pursue them as soon as possible.
- Collaborate. Initiatives like the Cybersecurity Workforce Alliance are popping up regularly – and by aligning yourself with them, you can take the first step towards expanding your own toolkit.
- Pay Attention. There are new technologies emerging constantly – as well as new threats. Keep a close watch on news sites and aggregators focused on the IT space, and make sure you understand each new development.
- Train Yourself. Technologies like machine learning, security as a service, advanced biometrics, and the Internet of Things are rapidly gaining ground. Learn how to work with and address them now, before they become a major part of your organization.
The most common misconception about the cybersecurity skills gap is that it refers exclusively to job vacancies. It doesn’t. IT professionals in businesses of all sizes would do well to take note of the expertise necessary to succeed on the modern market – by training themselves properly and acquiring the right knowledge, they can offer just as much help in plugging the gap as anyone else.
Max Emelianov started HostForWeb in 2001. In his role as HostForWeb’s CEO, he focuses on teamwork and providing the best support for his customers while delivering cutting-edge web hosting services.