The demand for cybersecurity experts is skyrocketing. With daily cyberattacks and costly data breaches increasing each year, it has never been a better time to explore the career options in this field. The demand for cybersecurity jobs is expected to grow by 53% over the next two years, leaving over 200,000 currently unfilled positions in the U.S alone, according to the Peninsula Press analysis. By 2019, the global cybersecurity field is predicted to be comprised of up to 6 million cybersecurity experts. However, there is a huge gap between cybersecurity experts needed and jobs filled.
Even though cybersecurity is one of the fastest growing industries, the high demand for skilled experts is not met. The lack of professionals who could secure the networks, data cloud storages or operating systems is far behind the demand curve. In the U.S., the overall shortage for information security experts is predicted to be at 1.5 million in 2019, according to a special report by the Cybersecurity Ventures, up from 1 million estimated in 2016. But this lack of talent and needed skill is not a unique US phenomena – it is a worldwide trend.
Cybersecurity is expected to be a well-paying and steady job for the next 30 years and in the near future the government will need at least 10,000 qualified applicants and the private sector 40,000, according to the Washington Post article. To meet this ever-growing demand, more people will have to enter the cybersecurity field in the near future since hackers are going to keep hacking and exploiting the system’s vulnerabilities. However, headhunters and recruiters have problems finding enough experts since both the government and private companies are looking at a limited pool of talent.
Software development or computer engineering majors may be more appealing for college students than cybersecurity because of their starting earning potential. Graduates in computer engineering can earn a six-figure starting salary, with a median salary of $75,000 as compared to $55,000 in security in 2009, as reported by the Washington Post. Not even recent high-profile leaks, daily attacks on infrastructure, personal data theft, or less than visible corporate espionage have prompted students and schools to focus more on cybersecurity education.
Schools are catching up slowly on this new trend, but often their majors are not tailored towards cybersecurity. Colleges often offer degrees in IT sciences but only about 2% of IT students graduated with cybersecurity degrees. As a result, there are not enough graduates for the market to fill all the positions. To compensate for this disadvantage, many cybersecurity experts have to earn their credentials through various certifications, field training or work experience. In order to help close the gap between demand and supply of cybersecurity experts, schools will have to focus on quality education and offer more courses in cybersecurity.
Overall, working in the cybersecurity area is well worth it, especially in the bigger metropolitan areas, according to this SilverBull’s infographic. For instance, the salaries of a chief information security officer in New York City or Washington, D.C. range from $139,000 to $367,000; in San Francisco, CA it is up to $380,000. Among their top job titles were: Chief Information Security Officer, Director Information Security, Director Information Technology, Director Information Technology Security. Other top, in-demand jobs in cybersecurity include: Security Engineer, Security Analyst, Information Security Analyst/Engineer, or Network Security Engineer. So, If you are working in the IT sector and considering a career change, this might be the right move.