The Future of Cybersecurity Jobs
Cybersecurity jobs are in high demand and it doesn’t seem like the need for more security professionals is going anywhere in the foreseeable future. Cyber attacks are only becoming more common and more harmful, and even though we tend to only hear about the attacks of high-profile entities, no company -- or individual for that matter -- with an online presence is immune to attacks.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 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.
Computer science roles are already in high demand as it is; adding in the element of security makes these roles even more critical and sought after.
The Current State of Cybersecurity Training
With so many jobs available, and the need to fill them so dire, more colleges are offering degrees in cybersecurity, though it has yet to become a staple in undergraduate coursework for students majoring in related fields.
For many professionals currently in the cybersecurity field, they learned the necessary skills through certificate programs and in-the-field training versus degree programs. “They didn’t always teach security in college,” explained Dave Lemaire, Senior Director of Technical Operations at Dyn. “It’s one of those things that you stumble into…or get forced into."
I spoke with Diana Burley, a professor at George Washington University who was named 2014 Cybersecurity Educator of the Year, about the state of cybersecurity programs in schools. While degree programs may not be as widespread as they should be for the level of demand for cybersecurity roles, they are in fact increasing.
She explained that in 1998, the National Security Agency, in response to the President’s National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace, developed the National Centers of Academic Excellence in Information program, which sparked the increase in programs.
“In the coming years, we will see an expansion of cybersecurity content across the curriculum as all students represent entry points into the broadly defined cybersecurity workforce,” Diana stated. “Continuous professional development is critical in the field of cybersecurity because the nature of the threat continuously evolves. Many options exist for current professionals to augment their skill set; including certificates from technical training companies, additional degrees through university study, or stand-alone hands-on courses to develop specific skills. The right decision depends on specific knowledge or skill required. There is no one-size fits all.”
So as for those who are already in the field and want additional training, Dave explained that Cisco and Microsoft security training certificate programs are common among all professionals looking for certification. Further collegiate education is also an option, but with relatively few schools offering programs, with a high percentage located on the east coast or DC area, it might not be easy for professionals to find a program nearby that offers what they need.
Common Cybersecurity Positions
While cybersecurity is a common job function, it is actually not as common to see the term in a job title. When cybersecurity is within a title, most commonly it is for Cybersecurity Engineer, Specialist, Analyst, or Architect.
Jobs that require cybersecurity know-how will usually have a range of titles. The most common titles, according to the SANS Institute Cybersecurity Professional Trends survey, are Security Analyst, Security Engineer or Architect, Security/IT Director or Manager, CISO/CSO, Systems Administrator, Network Architect or Engineer, Forensics Investigator, Auditor, Systems Engineer or Integrator, among quite a few other roles. Search Monster's listing of technology jobs to find job openings with any of these cybersecurity titles.
Common skills required for cybersecurity job roles are incident handling and response, audit and compliance, firewall/IDS/IPS skills, intrusion detection, analytics and intelligence, SIEM management, access/identity management, application security development, advanced malware prevention, and cloud computing/virtualization. While these are the most common skills, most cybersecurity roles require a handful of these skills plus others.
Based on the SANS survey, the top five industries for cybersecurity professionals are Banking/Finance/Insurance, Information Technology/Management, Government (Defense), Government (Nondefense), and Consulting/Professional Services. Not surprisingly, these top industries all deal with sensitive information, which is commonly targeted by attackers.
Knowing these top industries, it is no wonder why the top locations for cybersecurity jobs are in the Washington metropolitan area, New York, and the San Francisco-San Jose metro area.
Just the Beginning
While we’ve already seen a large boom in these jobs and skill sets, it is safe to say that it is only just the beginning for the rise in cybersecurity roles. Not only will current professionals be able to easily broaden their skill sets with more security training, if colleges continue to expand their offerings, more young talent will continue to fill these roles.