In the wake of the Panama Papers, described as one of the biggest cybersecurity failures in history, the need for professionals to ward off these type of infiltrations against companies became alarmingly apparent.
Finding talent to fill the skills gap in cybersecurity has been a hot topic of discussion for a number of months. According to Peninsula Press, a Stanford University project, we need to fill more than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the United States. That same report also showed that the number of job postings had jumped by more than 75 percent within the past five years, and that demand was expected to grow by 53 percent through 2018.
Here’s the outlook for cybersecurity jobs and what will need to happen to fill the gap:
- The cybersecurity market is expected to grow from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020, according to Forbes.
- Cisco recently issued a report that shows a global perspective: 1 million cybersecurity job openings currently need to be filled. The demand is projected to grow to 6 million globally by 2019, according to Michael Brown, CEO at Symantec, a security software vendor.
- More women are needed to help fill the gap. Statistics show that only 11% of the world’s information security workforce are women, according to the Women’s Society of Cyberjutsu.
- Because of the increasing challenges associated with cyber terrorists, the government is getting more aggressive in developing programs to address the huge need for cybersecurity officials. The CyberCorps provides a free tuition for students who are qualified to enroll in programs that focus on cybersecurity. Patty Anderson , a cybersecurity expert said, “There’s such a shortage of this skill set there is a provision to give you college tuition and a stipend,” she said. “It’s called Cybercorps.” Cybercorps is a government program that’ll pay all of tuition, all books and fees and a $15,000 stipend.
- Interest is growing among college students to address the demand, according to a CNBC report. “We have seen interest from students in cybersecurity and cyberpolicy. CS in general is one of the most popular majors on campus, and the most popular among female undergraduates,” Allison Berke, executive director of the Stanford Cyber Initiative, told CNBC. “A newly launched student group called Practical Cybersecurity formed this quarter to teach students practical hacking, computer security and cyberpolicy analysis skills.”
It’s the same story at Purdue University’s Center for Education and Research in Information Assurance and Security, which has the oldest U.S. degree program in information security and is the largest producer of Ph.D.s in the field.
“We have seen a steady increase in the number of students interested in cybersecurity over the last few years,” said Purdue professor Gene Spafford, a veteran of cybersecurity education who has also advised government agencies including the NSA, FBI and Air Force. Spafford noted though that — as with most graduate school programs — most of his students are not U.S. citizens.