Main image of article Recently Laid Off? Consider a Cybersecurity Career

The sting of a layoff is not easy to deal with – and unfortunately, in the past few months we’ve seen a big wave of tech layoffs amid pending recession and increasing inflation. It’s estimated that over 140,000 tech professionals have been laid off in 2022 with another wave of layoffs that happened the beginning of this year.

If you’re a job seeker or considering a career change, don’t overlook the cybersecurity field. Whether you’re a highly technical IT person or you work in HR, finance, sales, or marketing, there is a wealth of opportunity in cybersecurity—and a vast number of resources out there to help.

The Cybersecurity Skills Gap is Real and Persistent

Whether or not you’re familiar with the ongoing cyber skills gap, the reality is that the industry is in dire need of more people to fill critical roles that help organizations combat cybercrime. There’s an estimated global cybersecurity workforce gap of 3.4 million people. Despite adding more than 464,000 workers in the past year, the cybersecurity workforce gap has grown more than twice as much as the workforce, with a 26.2 percent year-over-year increase.

Against this backdrop, ransomware and cyber-attacks are proliferating—in other words, there’s a good chance for more job security in cybersecurity. In addition, there are excellent opportunities in cybersecurity for women, particularly as the sector is working to diversify its workforce. Women make up only 24 percent of the cybersecurity workforce, even though they make up over 50 percent of the world's population. That needs to change.

A Mix of Skills is Needed

Moving into cybersecurity can seem daunting—especially if you haven’t been in a highly technical position in the past. While technical skills are desperately needed as part of filling the cyber talent shortage, there’s also opportunities for people who don’t have programming or a background in computer science to reskill through training. Additionally, for those looking for non-technical roles, there are a wide array of different skills that are needed within cybersecurity as well—including what are often deemed “soft” skills like problem-solving and communications.

Acquiring the Needed Skills

There’s no one path to becoming a cybersecurity specialist. You can go the more traditional route of getting a degree in cybersecurity or computer science. You can take advantage of training and certifications to advance and learn new cyber skills. Or you can do both.

Industry certifications allow professionals in the cybersecurity field to verify their expertise and demonstrate their knowledge to potential employers or clients. However, cybersecurity is a constantly evolving field, which means professionals must continue to learn and stay up to date on the latest technology and threats to be effective. It’s part of ongoing professional development and continuing education, rather than a one-time accomplishment. Renewing certifications on a regular basis can help professionals maintain their knowledge and skills and stay ahead of evolving cybercrime methods.

Cybersecurity certifications also can benefit individuals from different backgrounds who want to expand their skill set and pursue a career in this discipline. Low-cost or free certification courses can make it easier for people to learn about cybersecurity and gain valuable skills. Many companies in the cybersecurity industry offer courses to cover a range of topics such as zero-trust network access, secure SD-WAN, and other important areas. These courses are often designed for different experience levels, so anyone who wants to learn can find a suitable program. By completing these courses and obtaining certification, individuals will be better equipped to protect their networks from dynamic and evolving threats.

Unlimited Opportunities in Cybersecurity

Organizations are in dire need for more people with cybersecurity skills, and it can be a lucrative sector to get into. Cybersecurity presents a range of opportunities for anyone interested in a career that provides growth opportunities while helping make the world a safer place. Within cyber, there are several career pathways that include roles such as a forensic analyst or a cloud security specialist.

And for individuals who don’t have a technical background, there’s an opportunity to learn some of these sought-after skills through free training or industry certifications. For anyone looking for a job or thinking about a career change, a move into cybersecurity holds a lot of potential. Cybercriminals aren’t going away and now, more than ever, cybersecurity talent is critical.  

Rob Rashotte is vice president of global training and technical field enablement, Fortinet.