If you’ve hired an employee for a tech position recently, you’ve likely felt the impact of the current tech labor shortage. In our hyper-connected economy, all businesses, no matter their size, need tech experience. Some hire full in-house teams; others partner with reputable vendors, and others figure it out on their own (good thing there’s Google!). Cybersecurity is no exception, and is absolutely impacted by this labor shortage.
The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has been watching the demand for cybersecurity professionals throughout the United States. Last month the agency published new data on the situation through its free online resource CyberSeek™. Last year, U.S. employers posted an estimated 313,735 job openings for cybersecurity workers. That’s on top of the current cybersecurity workers already employed, which tallied up to over 715,000.
What does it mean? What should businesses do? And what can individuals do?
What does it mean: Cybersecurity workers are in-demand. There are more jobs available than individuals looking. NIST stated that the number of current employed cyber security workers compared to job openings is two-to-three. This shortage is dangerous, because it puts our digital infrastructure and privacy at risk. Business, government, education and individuals all need to help close the cybersecurity skills gap.
What should businesses do: Look for alternative ways to create more qualified cybersecurity professionals. Foster in-house learning, support educational programs and partner with strong vendors. When looking to hire a new cybersecurity professional, take the time to understand the market in your region so you understand salary expectations and can make a competitive offer. Also, make sure you’re following best practices to protect your data: use two-factor authentication, require VPN for data access, use secure mail programs with encryption and set policies for mobile devices. Find out more about these best practices from OpenVPN CEO Francis Dinha: “Why Companies Need Additional Security And How To Shore Up Their Protective Measures.”
What can individuals do: Get trained! The top five specific cybersecurity jobs in demand are cybersecurity engineer, cybersecurity analyst, cybersecurity manager/administrator, cybersecurity consultant, and penetration and vulnerability tester. NIST has put together a great tool on CyberSeek called the Cybersecurity Career Pathway. It is a great resource for those looking to start or to advance a cybersecurity career. Pass it on to others, especially college and high school students.
Cybersecurity professionals protect our data and our privacy. We want to keep it that way — and encourage all efforts to improve our privacy. The cybersecurity talent shortage will continue to grow if we don’t champion more education and training. Will you put a program in place within your business?