Each first Thursday of the month is a new installment in Stronger’s Jobs in Cybersecurity Series. The first article in the series looked at employment from the employer’s perspective. In this second article, Stronger looks at the industry and issues of employment from the individual professional’s point of view.
The technology industry is in consensus: the cybersecurity field is facing a growing skills gap and a significant lack of trained professionals to fill an increasing number of jobs. “As the millennial generation comes of age and boomers retire over the next decade, it is the millennials who will be looked at to fill these critical roles.” Presently only 7% of the cyber security professionals surveyed in the Global Information Security Workforce Study by (ISC)2 were under 29 years of age.
Not only is there a lack of younger cybersecurity professionals climbing up the ranks and deepening their knowledge in the industry, there’s also a severe gender gap. Employers can start to address the skilled worker shortage and experience gap through better recruiting tactics, but how does the skills gap affect the cybersecurity professional?
Cybersecurity professionals will be happy to hear that not only are there currently unfilled opportunities, but the Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that “the rate of growth for jobs in information security is projected at 37% from 2012–2022—that’s much faster than the average for all other occupations.” Compare this to the fact that McKinsey Global Institute has issued a report saying that “375 million jobs will vanish by 2030.” A career in cybersecurity is not among those that will vanish in the future.
Salaries in cybersecurity are higher than general technology wages. Three years ago, cybersecurity personnel were paid 9 percent more than standard IT staff, a number that has continued to increase. This is due in part to the overall demand for skilled professionals and employers fighting for the same small pool of experienced workers. Though employers are hesitant to continue increasing pay, salaries are inching upward and including better benefits, “such as paid leave, flexible work schedules, remote work options and career development opportunities.”
Currently, with a Bachelor’s degree, the average annual salary for a cybersecurity professional is around $116,000, according to CNBC. That salary nearly doubles for positions requiring higher levels of education or Master’s degrees in cybersecurity.
Where The Jobs Are
Currently, the largest number of job openings in the United States for cybersecurity professionals are in Washington D.C. — followed by New York City, Dallas, Baltimore, Chicago, and Atlanta. Also on the list are Boston, San Francisco, Los Angeles and San Jose. Cities and areas that have heavy government positions, company headquarters, and growing tech hubs.
Other countries currently facing shortages include Israel, Australia, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Mexico— all of which are predicted to only intensify with time. It’s estimated that India alone will need 1 million cybersecurity employees to fill its growing needs. “Despite having the largest information technology talent pool in the world, India is highly unlikely to produce an adequate number of professionals to close the cybersecurity skills gap.”
Positions Most in Demand
Robert Herjavec, Founder & CEO at Herjavec Group says that “There is a zero-percent unemployment rate in cybersecurity and the opportunities in this field are endless.” Specifically, however, the most in demand positions are within the areas of Operate & Maintain, Securely Provision, Protect & Defend, and Analyze. “Cybersecurity engineer, cybersecurity analyst, cybersecurity manager/administrator, cybersecurity consultant, and penetration and vulnerability tester” are the five most in demand jobs roles.
A Career with Options
The market conditions for cybersecurity professionals gives employees options other fields lack. If they aren’t happy at work or making the money they’d like, other organizations are looking for their skill sets. Increasing internationally recognized certifications help show a level of expertise that allows employees the ability to easily transition to different organizations.
As a professional, beware of the temptation to change companies too often. Employees that have a history of short employment times with each employer are often seen as high-risk. These employees are only chosen as a last resort in the hiring process. Keep in mind the paycheck isn’t everything when it comes to cybersecurity. In an industry where culture, mentorship, and team communication can be key to a long career, jumping ship too often might lead one to burnout. Choosing a company that invests in you and your team may be the better option in the long run.
Cybersecurity is a high demand industry to be involved in. Those who gain certifications and experience are rewarded with higher than average technology salaries. The demand is predicted to continue both in the United States and also in other countries around the world. Finding a team and mentor to work with will help an employee stay in one organization and better develop their skill sets. Job hopping can be tempting in a tight labor market, but in the end, it can have negative effects on a long successful career. Demand for those in cybersecurity will continue to grow over the next decade, and those in the industry will be rewarded for staying the course and helping secure organizations.