In March, Computerworld reported that a report from Burning Glass Technologies, which develops technologies designed to match people with jobs, found that the demand for people with cybersecurity skills has grown 3.5 times faster than the demand for professionals in other IT-related jobs. The need is obviously there for cybersecurity professionals in both the private sector and in government (as an aside, I really hope this Snowden/NSA leak doesn’t make organizations more wary about hiring cybersecurity professionals at a time when we most need them). Yet, despite the need and the job opportunities (more than 67,000 job openings in the U.S. last year alone, according to Computerworld), there aren’t enough experienced people out there.
And as I said, this is a global problem. It is so bad that Australia is looking to import cybersecurity professionals. According to CFO World:
Carlo Minassian, CEO of IT security company, Earthwave, has been reported saying: “Around the world we see major players, like the US and Europe, building up their ranks of cyber security talent. Corporates are doing the same. Australia simply does not have enough homegrown cyber security talent to protect our country. We must import it, while simultaneously cultivating it here on our own soil.”
The article also pointed out that India will likely need 5 million cybersecurity professionals by 2015. That’s less than two years away.
So where will all of these necessary cybersecurity employees come from?
The push is on, now harder than ever, to encourage young people to enter the cybersecurity field. Later this month is the finals of an international cybersecurity challenge, Cybersecurity for the Next Generation. Young people from all over the world have been competing by presenting research and projects and get to meet and be mentored by today’s cybersecurity professionals. The military academies also have an annual competition to give students the opportunity to see the type of cybersecurity and national security risks they’ll be up against – with the hopes that some will turn their attention to this field. These challenges give students the chance to see the real world of cybersecurity. Let’s hope enough of them are interested enough to continue to pursue it as a career.