Cybersecurity Experts Needed – 3.4M to be exact, as the skills gap skyrockets. Why the surge and what does it mean for the industry? Buckle up, we’re diving deep into the digital abyss to uncover the answers!
Businesses manage and hold an abundance of sensitive data essential to protection, whether it belongs to the average consumer, another enterprise, or public figures. The need to protect the information they’re trusted with grows more pressing, together with the sophistication and skill of cyber criminals and the rewards at stake.
The facts and statistics pointing at the severity of the cyber threat phenomena are worrying, reinforcing the urgency of developing cybersecurity skills in Gen Z and the generations to come.
According to “HackerOne 2022”, that year only, ethical hackers spotted more than 65.000 flaws in systems, showing an increase of 21% from 2021. Other statistics show that the number of cyber-attacks worldwide was already 7% higher in the first quarter of 2023.
As a result, the need to overcome current cybersecurity challenges and teach and provide the necessary tools and opportunities for a better-prepared workforce is more pressing than ever. Cybersecurity has a leading role in protecting everyone’s data, yet the talent and skill shortage is growing by leaps and bounds.
Cybercriminal Groups are Potent Players in the Battle to Poach Talent
Technological advances and continuous improvement fuel the sharpness of cybercriminals’ skills. Additionally, like thriving companies allocate more funds to recruiting and employing the best talent, the same practice is commonplace in cybercriminal firms.
With a billions-worth underground economy, cybercriminal groupings also strive to obtain excellent tech skills and talent. By zooming out on the whole picture, we can conclude that the cybersecurity field is lucrative, providing great job opportunities for those inclined to technology, analytical thinking, and everything digital.
On a smaller scale, it is evident that companies need to secure their network and devices with superior tools like 2GO software, designed for entities ranging from start-ups to enterprises.
Regardless of the size and number of employees involved in a business, there’s no such thing as attack-proof regarding cyber threats. In fact, and contrary to popular belief, smaller companies are even more susceptible to cyberattacks and malicious attempts compared to larger ones.
They don’t have the same financial power to deal with all the threats and hazards they’re exposed to. What companies can do, instead, is protect their integrity by all means with the best practices they can employ and the most reliable programs and software at hand.
The Demand for Cybersecurity Experts Has Skyrocketed
Regarding the need for cybersecurity talent, the number speak for themselves. According to the most recent data, a whopping 3.4 million cybersecurity professionals are needed to fix the talent shortage problem and support today’s global economy.
The cybersecurity workforce reached its peak, and even though around 464.000 cybersecurity experts occupied open positions until October 2022, there’s still a worrying number of vacant jobs that must be filled.
According to findings from The International Information System Security Certification Consortium, 70% of respondents in the research complain about a lack of cybersecurity employees in their organizations. On the other hand, over 50% of respondents dealing with skills gaps associate this deficiency with a certain amount of cyberattack risk.
Simultaneously, 72% of the surveyed participants are willing to invest in enlarging their cybersecurity teams within the following year, marking an expected growth rate of 53% higher compared to 2021. With all data considered, one lesson can be extracted: everyone acknowledges the need to pay more attention to online threats.
The average internet user and small business use antivirus software to secure themselves from the wide range of threats present in the online realm, being reminded when their subscription expires and re-enacting it with Norton renewal to further ensure maximized protection for their devices.
On the other hand, corporations and large businesses need reliable employees with the necessary know-how to secure business operations and data on all fronts.
Some companies that were quick on the uptake have already deployed strategic plans to overcome staff shortages. After analyzing the outcomes, they suggested that the most effective solutions were represented:
- Encouraging workers outside the security or IT team to participate in activities
- Training programs for the existing talent
- Mentorship programs
- Job rotation
Going beyond what organizations need and looking at what the sought-after employee wants, we can conclude that potential workers can’t overlook some obstacles. For instance, some existing issues put off prospective employees from forming collaborations with the hiring companies, including the following:
- Unpredictability in what the present and future may bring in cybersecurity
- Unhealthy workplace conditions like excessive stress, burnout, and pressure
- More diverse teams regarding gender and ethnicity
- A different approach to certifications in this industry.
The Most Sought-After Cybersecurity Skills in 2023
Companies battle with poaching top talent, offering various perks and excellent salaries to retain the best skills. While the offers differ depending on the size and activity of the company, the required experience and certifications, and so on, the top in-demand abilities are essentially the same.
So, what are organizations looking for in their following cybersecurity professional? These are the most sought-after cybersecurity skillsets of the year so that you can make informed decisions should you want to pursue a career in this field:
Threat Intelligence Skills
Threat intelligence experts rely on their accumulated knowledge to solve problems creatively, being good collaborators who can guide others to fix issues.
They’re constantly learning and exploring to improve the risk mitigation strategy and are quick to mitigate existing threats after conducting a thorough analysis. CCTHP and CySA+ are standard certifications required to occupy this position.
Penetration Testing Skills
Professionals who can use exploit techniques to conduct tests are in high demand, as they have the key to demonstrating what’s in a criminal’s mind to identify company vulnerabilities.
Testers have an inclination to “destroy things”, in this case with authorization, thus assisting enterprises in finding their weak spots. The certifications needed may include CompTIA PenTest+, CMWAPT, and CRTOP.
Good decision-making, critical thinking, and an observative eye are among the qualities that forensic science professionals need to acquire a job in the cybersecurity field.
Once in this position, the tasks may span more areas, from recovering corrupted data to gaining the skills to present proof in court. Windows Registry Forensics and Digital Forensics Concepts are two certifications boosting the chances of finding a good position.
The global cybersecurity workforce shortage points to one conclusion: there is an ongoing need to shift the focus toward skilling, reskilling, and exploring existing and forming talent. Only through a collaborative effort can companies shape a more secure tomorrow.
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