Many people assume that their computer systems, email accounts and everything else they do online is safe and secure. Now, it is one thing when individuals are hacked, it is another thing when companies are or when government offices and agencies suffer the same fate. Unfortunately, these things happen all too often. In 2015, some reports have it that as many as 90% of all American businesses were experienced an attempted hack of some variety and 77% say those hacks were actually successful. This can be one of the reason the demand for cybersecurity experts is going up. This has been a boon for cybersecurity recruiters.
In the United States, that increased demand means cybersecurity recruiting firms are struggling to keep up, according to reporting by the Tribune News Service. These firms say there are at least 209,000 job openings in this field.
This number may only be the jumping off point as experts looking at the situation for cybersecurity recruiters say that the demand for these experts can only go up. The number of jobs in this field that need to be filled may get up to as much as 1.5 million by 2019, per data released by the Cybersecurity Jobs Report. That 1.5 million number only accounts for the United States market. It is expected that the global need will grow to six million by that same year.
Michael Kaiser, chief executive of the National Cyber Security Alliance, said, “The Internet is growing faster than the growth of people to protect it.”
The White House even weighed in on the issue. They urged, “immediate and broad-sweeping actions to address the growing workforce shortage and establish a pipeline of well-qualified cybersecurity talent.”
The situation has created a conflict between the government and private sector and each is looking to hire more cybersecurity experts in an era of an increase in cybercrime. In the past these entities went to cybersecurity recruiters to fill these positions but when the talent is not there, cybersecurity recruiters are left in a lurch. It will take time to fix this problem.
David Foote, a tech industry researcher and co-founder of Foote Partners, said, “It takes a long time to develop the instincts to be an effective cybersecurity engineer. You can’t just come out of college and know what to do.”
Kaiser said, “The threat landscape changes all the time, and that’s hard to train for.”
The result has been that companies are constantly working to lure cybersecurity experts away from their competitors. The Enterprise Strategy Group and Information Systems Security Association has reported that 46% of working cybersecurity experts report getting job offers from other companies every week. As a consequence, the turnover rates in this field are very high.
The federal government’s response has been to work on increasing education in fields such as cybersecurity for all ages of students. The National Science Foundation is even giving grants of $125 million to primary and secondary schools. The designation of National Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense has been given to almost 200 universities and colleges. The struggle to keep up with demand is not limited to the cybersecurity recruiters, many higher education institutions cannot keep up either.
Alan M. Usas, the director of the new executive master’s in cybersecurity program at Brown University, said, “We will start teaching the first group of students in two weeks. Interest has been extremely high.”
As high as it is, many students see more profit in other industries such as software development and they are not as interested as they may be.
Katrina Timlin, an associate fellow in the Strategic Technologies Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said, “People who are graduating from college are looking for the next killer app or to create the next startup. They have to have that nonconformist edge where they can pick apart a problem. That kind of personality pushes some people’s buttons.”
Another wrinkle in the problem of finding more cybersecurity professionals is that as they assess networks and systems, looking for weak spots, the people who built those networks and systems are protesting the cybersecurity experts’ findings.
In an era of job insecurity, cybersecurity experts do not have to worry about that.