The need for cybersecurity professionals has grown rapidly over the past few years, even faster than organizations can hire. The COVID-19 pandemic further fueled the demand when most of the world shifted to working remotely, and e-commerce began growing at an exponential rate. The number of vacant cybersecurity jobs grew from one million to 3.5 million between 2013 and 2021, a whopping 350% rise (Morgan, 2021).
The global cybersecurity market had a value of $202.72 billion in 2022. It is projected that the market is likely to expand at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of 12% from 2022 to 2030 (Grand View Research, 2022). Increasing adoption of cloud solutions, emergence of more e-commerce platforms, and proliferation of smart devices will be the major growth drivers of the market. Cyber threats are expected to evolve with use of intelligent devices and Internet of Things (IoT) technologies. Companies will need to deploy advanced cybersecurity solutions to identify, mitigate, and reduce risks of cyber-attacks.
Which industries are at risk?
While cyber threats are impacting all industries, energy and utilities, government, financial, healthcare, and small businesses are experiencing marginally higher risk.
With most business operating fully, or partially online, the risk and impact of data theft has become incredibility cumbersome. Security breaches in the energy sector could cost time and human life. The healthcare sector fully depends on digital technology to store important medical data and patient information. Potential threats can cost lives, money, and operational efficiency.
Small companies have more to lose than their large counterparts in a cyber-attack. 60% of small businesses shut down within six months of a major data breach (Galvin, 2018). Financial institutions using digital payment and online transactions are among the biggest risk-prone players with respect to cyber-attacks.
Cybersecurity skill sets
Burning Glass Technologies states that cloud security is the leading skill required in the cybersecurity space, which involves protecting data within the third-party, cloud-based network storage system (Columbus, 2020).
Other skills such as threat intelligence, application development security, compliance and control, data security, and incident response are essential in risk management. Most roles in cybersecurity involve identifying and repairing vulnerabilities, reinforcing applications, and implementing data security. The majority of those skills are typically gained through experience and a thorough knowledge of digital technology.
Job opportunities in cybersecurity
Here are some of the job opportunities available for cybersecurity professionals:
C-Level technology positions: These are high-level roles that require vast experience. Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs) are typically required in larger companies. They work with the Chief Information Officer (CIO) to keep data and systems secure.
Information Security Analyst (ISA): An ISA works with growing brands and other entities to identify and prevent security threats.
Project managers: A cybersecurity project manager determines the best strategy to address threats, relying on the insights provided by CISOs and CIOs. They delegate team members to execute specific tasks to ensure system protection.
Other common positions include cybersecurity engineers, malware analysts, systems engineers, penetration testers, and consultants.
Soft skills in cybersecurity Here are some of the soft skills required in cybersecurity risk management:
Critical thinking: Cybersecurity requires analyzing and prioritizing complex situations. A data security professional must be skilled enough to identify what could go wrong and determine the best course of action based on available resources.
Communication: Cybersecurity not only involves working with the security team, it calls for explaining security needs to those teams that are less tech-savvy. A cybersecurity professional must have the ability to communicate high-tech concepts to a broader audience. Communication is extremely important in this domain. Other soft skills like leadership and public speaking are also important.
Diverse experience: The cybersecurity field benefits when individuals have nontechnical diverse backgrounds like human resource, public relations, project management, and marketing.
Lightcast states that there are about one million cybersecurity workers in the US. However, as of November 2021, there were about 715,000 positions to be filled (Hatton & Effinger, 2022). The numbers reflect the demand for cybersecurity professionals that exceeds supply, which makes it an extremely lucrative profession.