Main image of article Cybersecurity Job Gap Remains Huge

Despite all the publicity around cyberattacks, employers across the country still have a problem with hiring enough tech professionals to secure their infrastructure.

According to the latest data from CyberSeek, a joint initiative of the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s (NIST) Nice program, Lightcast and CompTIA, employers have posted some 663,434 open cybersecurity positions over the past 12 months, but that hasn’t been enough to solve a supply-demand ratio of 69 workers for every 100 job openings.

The current base of cybersecurity professionals stands at 1.1 million, CyberSeek estimates. “Despite increasing economic uncertainty, demand for cybersecurity professionals has continued its upward march,” Will Markow, vice president of applied research at Lightcast, wrote in a statement accompanying the latest data. “Employers across the economy now recognize cybersecurity workers as essential, and expanding the cybersecurity talent pipeline remains one of the most critical workforce challenges of our time.”

Addressing this cybersecurity skills gap is a huge issue. Some pundits and analysts have suggested up-skilling existing people within an organization to tackle at least certain kinds of cyber-threats; others have pushed for expanding educational opportunities for those interested in cybersecurity as a profession. For organizations that need cybersecurity help as quickly as possible, cybersecurity consultants can provide at least some help, although such solutions can quickly prove costly.

For tech professionals looking for opportunity, specializing in cybersecurity—or at least learning some critical cybersecurity skills—can boost your job prospects. If you can learn at least something about cyberthreat intelligence, malware intelligence, securing system operations and cybersecurity foundations, you’ll have an advantage when sitting down with a hiring manager or recruiter. Those looking for learning materials and certifications can find lots of resources online, including Google’s new Cybersecurity Certificate (which comes with a lot of useful coursework) and CyberSeek’s directory of service and training providers.

Once you have the training, lots of cybersecurity opportunities will open up. Given the demands of the market, cybersecurity positions can often prove quite lucrative, especially if you specialize in a particular sub-industry; for example, those with knowledge of the healthcare industry and its mountains of regulations can position themselves as a candidate who will keep vital patient and hospital data secure against internal and external intrusion.