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The Cybersecurity Talent Gap – An Industry Crisis

As each cyber attack becomes more sophisticated than the previous ones, the industry’s requirement of skilled cybersecurity professionals increases. According to recent estimates, globally there is going to be 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs that will go unfilled by 2021. The global cybersecurity talent shortage has put numerous organizations in a tight spot where their business had to suffer adversely in case of failure to deploy cyber defense strategies. Unfortunately, small and medium businesses are more vulnerable to cyber attacks as they are cash-strapped to deploy expensive security technologies and hire cybersecurity professionals who command premium pay.

Cybersecurity Talent Shortage

The skill gap shortage doesn’t seem to end anytime soon. Cybersecurity as a domain is vast, it wouldn’t be far-fetched to say even a lifetime isn’t enough to master all the domains. Whether you are interested in technical or non-technical roles, cybersecurity domains have them all – positions span across entry-level roles like security systems auditor, administrator, analyst, forensics investigator to architects, experts to senior-level roles such as the director, head and C-level executives. Each of the cybersecurity domains – Governance, Risk & Compliance (GRC), IT Infrastructure Security, Application Security, Industry Cybersecurity, Data Privacy, Business Continuity, Disaster Recovery, new-age domains involving artificial intelligence, robotics, machine learning, the blockchain and more entails a separate and distinct career path. On the non-technical side, roles such as cybersecurity sales professional, security blogger/columnist, event producer, recruiters are in great demand.

Cybersecurity is a domain that keeps changing, evolving all the time. So, the challenge and imperative here are to keep learning, unlearning and relearning all the time. So, if the vibrant, dynamic nature of the field excites you and the prospect of constant learning appeals to you then probably you should consider this as your profession.

One rewarding way to validate your learning – knowledge, skills, and expertise is to undergo industry-recognized certification courses and obtain the certification. Security certifications are varied – vendor-oriented to vendor-neutral, skill-based, domain-specific, to list a few. Though there are contrarian views regarding certifications vs actual skills a candidate can demonstrate on the job, there is no denying in the fact that certified candidates command attention from recruiters and obviously are better paid than those who are not certified. Exceptions exist though.

Possible Solution

It will take years to develop cybersecurity professionals with the right skills to fill in these jobs. Fresh graduates with degrees in technology may not have the hands-on skills to take up specialist positions in cybersecurity and hit the ground running. They need to undergo technical training with lab exercises based on real-time scenarios to pick up required skills and then try getting a break in the industry. There are very few formal degree or post-graduate degree courses that offer hands-on training focused on developing niche skills in cybersecurity.

A report by Dark Reading’s report concluded that only 14 percent of IT security managers remark that there are sufficient cybersecurity pros who can proactively respond to any threats or determine any potential ones that might be a looming shadow on the organization’s growth. Skilled expertise has the required potential to enhance an organization’s security status. The dire need of cybersecurity experts can be fulfilled through high-quality training imparted to participants in leading cybersecurity institutes and universities. Hence as we work on the technology to build more advanced techniques to fight cyber crime, we also need experts in the field to detect and mitigate threats at a faster rate. Certified programs on cybersecurity are indeed a way to bridge the gap.

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