Cybersecurity Ventures projects that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs globally by 2021, up from 1 million positions in 2014. If this sounds far-fetched, consider that it has been corroborated by the world’s largest media outlets, industry associations, universities, governments and security experts.
World Economic Forum republished a Wharton article that observed “nowhere is the workforce skills gap more pronounced than in cybersecurity.” Harvard Business Review has reported that “the majority of chief information security officers around the world are worried about the cybersecurity skills gap, with 58% of CISOs believing the problem of not having an expert cyber staff will worsen.”
In the United States alone, the total cyber security workforce consists of 715,000 professionals, with 314,000 unfilled positions, according to Cyber Seek. The CNBC Tech Council paints a bleaker picture for organizations in need of trained talent, putting the number of openings at 700,000 to 1 million over the past 12 to 24 months. Those figures represent 32 to 45% of all U.S. technology job openings.
However, it gets worse. Of the candidates applying for the current available positions, fewer than 25% are qualified, according to the MIT Technology Review.
From a career perspective, of course, this is all welcome news. A Master of Business Administration with a Concentration in Cyber Security online from the University of Texas at Tyler could be the next step for you to advance your career and help industries seeking trained professionals in cyber security.
The demand for trained professionals stretches across virtually all industries. Those that are most vulnerable are more heavily involved with data, internet infrastructure, applications and IoT devices. Fewer and fewer industries these days are not involved and dependent upon these technologies, which makes them all vulnerable to one degree or another – and any enterprises that might entertain the idea of being less vulnerable make themselves a target if they invest less in cyber security.
There is a 0% unemployment rate in cyber security, and the career options are limitless. If you are open to different industries, the following are in especially dire need of cyber security professionals and leaders:
Financial Services: The wealth of nations and of individuals, as well as sensitive personal data, is entrusted to financial institutions. Retirement accounts, with $6 trillion in IRAs alone, are ideal targets for cyber criminals because stolen money is highly difficult to recover. For these reasons, this sector invests heavily in keeping money and information safe from cyber attacks and fraud. Fraud prevention investments alone have reached over $11 billion dollars, while actual losses were just north of $1 billion, so the industry appears to be staying ahead of the curve.
Healthcare: The complex healthcare system, with its interconnected hospitals, medical offices, clinical care settings, insurance companies and government regulators, is especially vulnerable to cyber attacks – and the damage can be extraordinary in financial and public health terms. Healthcare sectors’ sensitive, personal data is more valuable to cyber criminals because of the lives at stake.
An ongoing series of costly and high-profile data breaches have compromised the private records of millions of patients, according to HealthITSecurity.com. HIPAA Journal reports that 89% of healthcare organizations have experienced a data breach. In 2019, data breaches and ransomware attacks cost the industry an estimated $4 billion, and healthcare accounted for 40% of all breaches.
Government: It is no wonder the nation’s capital is a hotspot for cyber security work. The federal agencies that faced attacks include Homeland Security, Departments of State, the Department of Energy and Veterans Affairs and Defense, as well as the CIA, NSA, SEC, IRS, FDIC and the U.S. Postal Service.
There have been hundreds more attacks on state and local government entities. Behind these incidents are varied enemies, including hostile foreign governments, terrorist groups and rogue individuals or “hacktivists” looking to make a statement by hurting the U.S. government, economy or people.
While the Department of Homeland Security has escalated its developmental program for cyber security management talent with internships, graduate programs and veteran opportunities, much more needs to be done in the private sector to meet government needs.
Energy/Utilities: Like government, this sector is especially prone to hacktivism and cyberterrorism. The energy grid in the United States is vulnerable and integral to providing power to every other industry. If it were to be shut down in part, even for a short time, the damage could be irreparable. The sector is also vulnerable to malware infections of the diverse electronic connections including web, mobile and network security. Widespread outages could also harm the government and undermine national security, making the U.S. vulnerable to other forms of attack.
There are many more industries that are highly vulnerable to attack. Retail, education, IT and telecom, construction and manufacturing are a small subset of those with a strong demand for talented and trained cyber security professionals. Within each industry, the threats are growing in complexity and severity. Organizations and industries in the U.S. are depending on universities to develop the qualified talent they will need to fortify their assets and keep cyber criminals from gaining the upper hand.