How Do We Close The Skills Gap In The Cybersecurity Industry?

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The digital transformation has revolutionized the traditional economic landscape and created an essential need for a digitally skilled workforce. As technology becomes increasingly intertwined with day-to-day life, cybersecurity has taken on a newfound importance. The Covid-19 pandemic increased cyberattacks by 300%, thus creating a need for more cybersecurity talent to be placed within organizations to protect their confidential data.

With such high demand, the lack of cybersecurity professionals creates potential gaps in security. These gaps can cause everything from irresponsible handling of personal information to catastrophic failures of infrastructure that could have life-and-death consequences.

New Opportunities In Cyber

According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there are 3.5 million open cyber jobs worldwide. The digital transformation has impacted employment opportunities and altered the face of commerce. Businesses are more agile and people are able to access new opportunities via online marketplaces and startup companies. Ultimately, digital transformation is one of the biggest drivers of economic change today.

Companies need help filling positions that require programming knowledge, big data analysis and cybersecurity operations, leading to a wider gap between businesses and their potential for growth. Cyberattacks exploit any vulnerabilities organizations have that leave assets exposed. Cybercriminals use a variety of methods to access personal information and take advantage of unsuspecting individuals. One of the primary tactics used is phishing, where malicious actors rely on people responding to familiar-looking emails and fake websites with sensitive data. Human error is the leading cause of cybersecurity breaches.

With increasing salaries and a wealth of avenues for growth, interested individuals can take advantage of this abundance of openings by upskilling. Cybersecurity roles can vary depending on the type of organization and the specific area of focus. Some common roles include:

• Information security analyst.

• Cybersecurity consultant.

• Penetration tester.

• Security architect.

• Network security engineer.

Skill Sets

Businesses can contribute to closing the rapidly growing digital skills gap by continuously upskilling and reskilling their workforce. As cyber threats get more creative, brushing up on skills, terminology and trends is essential. Offering internship and mentorship programs for candidates to apply their knowledge in real-world scenarios is a vital way to put their skills to the test.

It can also be helpful to have a well-versed guide share their wisdom from real-world scenarios with a less seasoned individual, providing them with priceless experience and resourceful coaching needed to succeed in such a lucrative industry. Lastly, businesses and leaders should collaborate with educational organizations that specialize in upskilling and reskilling programs, where they have the ability to attract, retain and retrain digital skills professionals, which will create a sustainable talent pipeline of cyber professionals.

Access To Comprehensive Training

Upskilling and reskilling provide the potential for financial success along with job stability and a chance to work in an ever-evolving industry, helping to secure our global data networks. There are plenty of positions available to those looking to explore this field and make a difference in their community. The global workforce gap increased by over 25% this year, and nearly 70% of organizations say they have a worker shortage, according to (ISC)2.

“While the cyber workforce deficit constitutes a near- and long-term threat to our national and economic security, it also represents a significant opportunity to employ a more diverse and inclusive workforce in good-paying jobs that offer strong career possibilities,” said Camille Stewart Gloster, Deputy National Cyber Director, Technology and Ecosystem Security. So, how do we create a more diverse and inclusive cyber workforce? We have to make this career path more accessible, and one way to do this is to reconsider hiring barriers, like the requirement of the standard four-year degree to qualify for open roles.

To help close this gap and maximize the related employment opportunities, we need to demystify negative connotations about the cybersecurity industry and provide attainable resources to those interested, like training programs to upskill and reskill lifelong learners and career changers. We should also ensure that cyber training, education and career pathways are available to everyone in our society with the passion and potential to do the work.

Another big action we need to take as a society is access to the proper training. Diversity is needed in the industry for a more innovative, creative and holistic cybersecurity ecosystem and to help reduce biases and identify blind spots in the threat landscape. A resilient digital economy system would need an inclusive cybersecurity workforce as well. According to a McKinsey survey, it’s estimated by 2025, cyberattacks will cost the world over $10 trillion.

In short, businesses must expand their talent search, offer upskilling and reskilling programs, and launch mentorship programs to create accessibility in the cyber industry and to do their part in solving the cyber workforce shortage. Closing the digital skills gap is not a one-person mission but rather a collective effort rooted in collaboration.

 

Dan Vigdor
Dan Vigdor

Dan Vigdor is the co-founder of ThriveDX, a global leader in providing cybersecurity training to upskill and reskill learners.

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