SolarWinds. Colonial Pipeline. Even Zoom-bombing. From denial of service attacks to ransomware, cybercrime is on the rise around the world. And even if you haven’t fallen victim to the latest phishing scam, you’ve likely been impacted by a cyberattack.
According to one analysis, approximately 30,000 websites are hacked every day, with a new attack occurring somewhere on the web every 39 seconds. In the United States alone, the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) recorded 791,790 cybercrime-related complaints in 2022, a 69 percent increase from 2019. Losses from those complaints exceeded $4.1 billion.
Businesses today must devote an increasing amount of resources—in time, money, and talent—to detecting and preventing cyberattacks. The result has been a boom in demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals.
Whether you are starting your career or seeking to change direction, here are five key reasons why you should consider today’s—and tomorrow’s—hottest field in tech.
1. The Huge Number of Cybersecurity Jobs
If you run a quick search for “cybersecurity” on any major job-seeking website, your search is likely to result in hundreds, if not thousands, of unfilled openings.
Companies are creating new cybersecurity jobs faster than they can fill them.
Between April 2020 and May 2021, there were nearly 500,000 cybersecurity-related job postings across the United States. Globally, Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that there may be as many as 3.5 million unfilled jobs in cybersecurity by the end of 2021. This number represents an incredible 350 percent growth in available cybersecurity jobs from 2013.
So while finding the right job is never easy, it’s safe to say that professionals with cybersecurity skills have a distinct advantage in this highly competitive job market.
2. The Cybersecurity Skills Gap
Demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals is growing faster than the rate at which people are gaining the necessary skills.
And the cybersecurity skills gap is only expected to worsen.
According to research firm Frost & Sullivan, the shortage of skilled IT professionals will likely widen by an additional 1.8 million jobs by 2022.
Therefore, professionals who have the skills and experience to fill these roles right now can expect more job opportunities. You may even be able to negotiate a higher salary.
To read more about the skills you need to start a career in cybersecurity, check out this related blog post on the Eight Cybersecurity Skills in Highest Demand.
3. Nearly Every Industry Needs Cybersecurity Professionals
Cybersecurity jobs are not limited to the tech sector. Every industry now finds itself in need of skilled cybersecurity professionals to protect their networks, data, and online transactions.
The need for cybersecurity in some sectors—such as healthcare and finance—is obvious.
But sectors that have not traditionally worried about cyber attacks now find themselves under threat.
State and local governments, for example, have seen a dramatic uptick in ransomware attacks. As cars and even household appliances are now online, the Internet of Things (IoT) faces a burgeoning boom in cybersecurity requirements. Even the fitness and hospitality industries find themselves facing financial and legal repercussions from data breaches.
So if you are interested in a career in tech but want to avoid the typical technology start-up, a career in cybersecurity will allow you to utilize your technical skills in almost any industry that interests you.
4. Cybersecurity Has Many Different Career Pathways
Staying one step ahead of cybercriminals requires teams of experts, with different skills and knowledge bases. Your cybersecurity journey will depend on your specific skillset, but also on your unique interests and strengths.
This Cyber Career Pathways Tool by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) offers one conceptualization of the cybersecurity workforce. It describes 52 distinct cybersecurity roles across five distinct skill-based communities. Cyberseek.org offers another visualization of potential cybersecurity career pathways. Starting with six “feeder roles”, you can see the skills overlap and potential progression from entry-level to advanced roles.
As these tools show, many, although not all, cybersecurity career pathways begin in a technical field.
A coding certification or undergraduate degree in IT is a great place to start. You may find yourself developing secure networks, systems to protect cloud-based databases, or security software to embed in the latest online app.
And as you gain experience, you may find yourself fascinated with risk analysis, decide to further your education in security governance, or seek an advanced degree or technical certification.
This dynamic, rapidly evolving field offers you the opportunity to shape your career to match your evolving interests.
5. Cybersecurity May be Future-Proof
Cybersecurity is likely to continue to see extensive job growth for the foreseeable future.
According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, US-based jobs in information security are expected to grow 33 percent from 2020 to 2030. For reference, the average growth rate for all occupations is expected to be 7.7 percent in the upcoming decade.
Unfortunately for businesses desperate to hire cybersecurity professionals, the skills gap is likely to be with us for a long time. And while other industries may be subject to the ups and downs of the economy, the need to stay ahead of cybercrime doesn’t go away during a recession.
In other words, if you begin a certification or degree program in cybersecurity today, the job you have been dreaming about is going to be there when you finish. The future is a bright one for those with the skills, knowledge, and mindset to join the fight against cybercrime.