With the rise of cybercrime, which continues to be a rampant threat to government, companies, institutions and individuals, a new role has emerged: cybersecurity engineering. The need for individuals with skills in software and systems engineering, as well as operational security, is growing and as a result, universities and government are being called on to act accordingly.
The need for cybersecurity engineers
As the Cybersecurity Jobs Report 2018-2021 from Cybersecurity Ventures concluded, within the next three years there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally. The cost of cybercrime has steadily risen from $3 trillion in 2015 to an expected total of $6 trillion by 2021. Leaders in the industry have been unable to keep up with demand, due to a lack of qualified applicants.
“By 2021, cybercrime spend is expected to reach $6 trillion.”
The big reason for the lack of skilled workers and available candidates, which is causing the cybersecurity industry to lose out big time, is the booming tech industry, Venture Beat reported. The majority of qualified candidates are skipping further education and training to instead hop on board with innovative startups in Silicon Valley. This leaves the cybersecurity industry with virtually no unemployment and a concerning skills gap.
Competitive compensation and lots of choices
As eSecurity Planet reported, due to the dire need for skilled workers, active job seekers vying for a shot in the cybersecurity engineering sector can be guaranteed lots of career options and a salary well above that of their peers in other IT industry roles.
Though hands-on experience and IT security certifications applicable to cybersecurity are preferred, it is likely that organizations will begin to offer on-site training in an effort to fill quotas. However, it is also worth noting that because cybercrime tactics and threats are continuously changing, skill development will need to evolve on a per-need basis as well. As eSecurity Planet highlighted, skills guaranteed to be useful for aspiring cybersecurity engineers include:
- Access/identity management
- Application security development
- Audit and compliance
- Firewall/IDS/IPS skills
- Analytics and intelligence
- Intrusion detection
- SIEM management
- Advanced malware prevention
- Incident handling and response
- Cloud computing/virtualization
Those individuals who can meet the needs of these ventures companies that are struggling with a lack of qualified cybersecurity engineers can reap a highly competitive profit.
Enhancing education to fill the gap
In March, leaders and cybersecurity experts from across the country gathered at the University of Florida to discuss the latest trends, needs and developments in the field, the Herbert Wertheim College of Engineering reported. Moving forward, there was agreement that collaboration between industry, academia and government is essential to the future of the industry.
Understanding that they are losing top candidates to the tech industry, organizations across the cybersecurity sector are turning toward college and university programs, that are actively improving and offering relevant coursework, to develop and hire right-fit employees. Venture Beat was quick to caution, however, that universities are best guided to wait on revamping or creating cybersecurity master’s and Ph.D. programs until they have a complete understanding of the industry needs.
The next few years will be indicative of the future of cybersecurity engineering and how the industry will react to the skills gap. One thing is for sure – there are more than enough job openings in the field.