Cybersecurity remains a high-demand job, but finding good help isn’t easy

Last month, the US unemployment rate hovered around 3.5%, a nearly 50-year high. For many companies, this means that good help is increasingly difficult to find. Similarly, according to new data from job search site Adzuna, 33% of job seekers said they would not even go to a job interview without first knowing the salary the employer was. ready to offer.

This has presented increased challenges for employers, and this is especially true in the information technology (IT) sector, especially for those working in cybersecurity. In fact, employer demand for cybersecurity professionals is so high that it continues to strain the availability of talent.

Cybersecurity is now one of the most in-demand occupations in the United States, and it could likely remain so for the foreseeable future according to new data from CyberSeek, a cybersecurity workforce analytics platform developed in partnership with the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education at NIST, Lightcast and CompTIA.

For the 12-month period ending September 2022, employers had listed 769,736 vacancies for cybersecurity positions or jobs requiring cybersecurity skills. During this period, employer demand for cybersecurity workers grew 2.4 times faster than the overall rate across the entire US economy. Additionally, nine of the top 10 months for cybersecurity job openings over the past 10 years were in 2022.

“The data should compel us to redouble our efforts to educate young people and adults about career opportunities in cybersecurity, especially during Cybersecurity Career Awareness Week, an international campaign to inspire individuals to explore the variety of types cybersecurity roles that are needed in both the public and private sectors,” said Rodney Petersen, director of the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE).

Even with a slight decline in hiring activity in recent months from record volumes at the start of the year, total cybersecurity job postings for Q3 2022 were 30% higher. to that of the same period in 2021 and 68% to that of 2020.

The researchers noted that the supply-to-demand ratio held steady at 65, indicating about 65 cybersecurity workers in the labor market – the vast majority already employed, per 100 cybersecurity job openings.

Cyberattacks promote hiring

Just as increased demand for consumer goods is outstripping supply, driving inflation to record highs, the demand for cybersecurity professionals is outstripping the supply of workers to fill job vacancies. The question is what is driving the demand?

In this case, it is the constant threat of cyberattacks.

“The demand for cybersecurity professionals increases as the pace of cybercrime increases,” said Jim Purtilo, associate professor of computer science at the University of Maryland.

Hiring more cybersecurity professionals may not be the answer to stopping attacks, Purtilo told ClearanceJobs.

“That won’t change until the business model for developing new apps stops rewarding ‘first to market’ at the expense of qualities like security and durability,” he explained. “Many in the field, unfortunately, treat security as if it were a separable good – something you can apply to a product as it rolls out the door. In reality, however, systems need to be designed with safety in mind.”

This could be especially difficult in the government sector where many networks are made up of legacy systems and platforms as old as some users. It’s not a cliché to say that the problem will probably get worse before it gets better for these reasons. But even new systems are plagued by many of the same issues.

“Developers who don’t care to invest effort in any qualities that reduce the speed of their creation of new products can still sell those products today, even without built-in security, and this reality keeps cybersecurity companies in business with cleaning,” Purtilo added.

Skill sets increase

The good news for those looking for a career in cybersecurity is that there are now plenty of opportunities. However, new data from CyberSeek also showed that cybersecurity skill requirements for specific professions have increased significantly over the past 12 months.

Simply put, the cybersecurity profession continues to grow in specialized areas, such as penetration testing and threat analysis. There is a similar expansion in cybersecurity skill requirements in adjacent positions such as Auditor (+336%), Software Developer (+87%), Cloud Architect (+83%) and Technical Support Engineer (+48%). %).

“CyberSeek’s data reaffirms the critical importance of bridging roles and more creative thinking about on-ramps and career paths,” said Ron Culler, vice president of e-learning at CompTIA. “It is clear from the CyberSeek data that the importance and impact of cybersecurity reaches all levels of the technology workforce. We see this trend continuing and are committed to ensuring that cybersecurity professionals are prepared for the current and future challenges it will bring.

Prepare the next generation

Another issue is how cybersecurity professionals are trained. It can be difficult to keep up with the changing landscape of threats they may face, but there are also the concerns that Purtilo has already noted. Unless these issues can be resolved, cybersecurity may be an in-demand job that lacks workers to fill all positions.

“We know how to build quality systems, and my software engineering students enjoy dramatic demand in areas that care about quality, but it’s hard to attract entry-level students to this more difficult educational path when the market will absorb all the programmers a school can produce,” Purtilo continued. “And a lot of those programmers don’t just make software, they do business for cyber companies to clean up after them.”

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