There’s an ongoing discussion about the scarcity of skills within the cyber-security industry. The present cyber-security workforce is estimated to be 2.8 million and the number of vacancies is expected to rise to 4 million by 2021; this is according to Cyber-Security Ventures.
But sometimes this skill gap is regarded as a myth since companies are only unable to purchase the optimal market rates for cyber-security professionals.
Experts with vast skills are struggling to survive in this rather competitive environment as well.
Firsthand candidates wishing to enter the industry are facing hurdles, finding it difficult to do so. The candidates are not even knowledgeable of where they can start to apply their skills and are finding it hard to stand out without the prerequisite experience.
The paradox is that firms are also finding it incredibly difficult to offer these entry-level professional positions in their workforce.
The situation is being viewed as a shortage of skills. It’s acceptable that having a formal education cannot guarantee your entry into the cyber-security world.
The majority of cyber-attackers are innovative and self-taught. This case makes it harder for candidates to submit their CVs, and even more difficult for the hirer to assess them.
The only way that is perceived to be easy for prospective candidates and hirers is networking. Here, candidates learn relevant lessons about cyber-security.
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Several surveys have been conducted to examine the state of the cyber-security workforce and the shortage of skills in the industry.
The (ISC)2 – International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium, which is the body mandated with the provision of security training and certificates has been conducting a parallel survey about the skills gap in the cyber-security industry, and it has managed to estimate the present number of employed cyber-security professionals and the extra trained professionals required to fill the available vacancies.
The examinations involve a variety of security pundits worldwide with responsibilities ranging from the provision of network security, compliance, to the management of risks in a network architecture.
At first, these studies match with most companies reporting understaffing and lack of proper skills among the available IT and cyber-technology professionals. A proportion of the workforce has expressed dissatisfaction with their work-life balance, which is a major challenge that causes employed people to leave their occupations.
According to (ISC)2 there is nothing like a shortage of skills or unemployment – there are jobs that must be filled.
Security experts require no formal education to fit cyber-security job positions but a wide set of skills like the ability to learn modern technologies, the ability to communicate well, being innovative, and so on. Employed security pundits are earning a lot of money as well.
There are several reasons why there is a skills gap in the cyber-technology job market.
Firstly, the market is unable to withstand the available demand. There is an increasing rate of the number of cyber-crimes and this will prevail since cyber-attacks are very lucrative.
Secondly, there is a negative perception of the general public.
For instance, if you search today the word “cybersecurity” on Google, you will not miss “an image of a guy wearing a hoodie, on a computer somewhere in the dark,” but you won’t see someone rushing to rescue!
Lastly, whereas the industry is certainly in dire need of security pundits, there has never been a clear career path for them.
Research shows that in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany the present number of employed cybersecurity professionals is 289,000, 121,000, and 133,000 respectively.
The survey shows that the cyber-security skills gap across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA) region alone has reached 291,000. From the study, it is clear that:
The survey also probed the motivation of cyber-security workforce and came up with the following findings:
The survey indicates that the majority of cyber-security professionals are greatly satisfied in their jobs and are confident about their futures.
Nevertheless, there is a massive shortage of cyber-security and IT professionals in the current global workforce to keep companies safe from cyber-attackers.
Regardless of the number we keep discussing, the truth is that there is a tremendous deficit of cybersecurity professionals in the industry and the number is on the rise.
Some of the sampled facts about unfilled jobs include:
There is a common trend in international cyber-security arenas: skills and experience are highly preferred.
Closing the skills gap in cyber-technology is not going to happen any time soon.
The pipeline must begin when the very first-time freshmen from the college declare their interests to major in this career. Coding should be learned like chemistry and biology. Education systems all over the world must look into ways of bringing a cyber-security skillful generation.
At workplaces, companies should revisit their internal processes. They need to remember that cyber-security is not a profession that fits well with the conventional job qualifications listed in the checklist.
There is room to be innovative, be easy to learn new technologies, the ability to communicate, and so on. But most importantly, we must come up with strategies that leave everyone thinking about cyber-security; approaches that shun the old narrative of there being a skills gap in the cyber-security industry.
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