There is still a shortage of tech workers in IT security. As an IT cybersecurity specialist, you can make good money and field offers from across the country. Let's look at which certifications and skills are in highest demand.
Cyber Security Skills Shortage
Across the world, there is a shortage of individuals certified to be cybersecurity engineers. So, it's a seller's market for IT security workers, who can ask for premium salaries.
Just what are we looking at in terms of the scale of the shortage? By the end of 2019, there will probably be two million IT security jobs left open due to the lack of qualified candidates. About six million analysts will be sought after by the industry. However, only four and five million certified tech workers will be available.
The shortage is already reaching critical proportions. According to McAfee, 82 percent of 775 hiring managers in the field admitted there's a shortage of IT security engineers in their organizations. Indeed.com released research in 2017 that despite increased advertising for analyst openings, there's a wide gap in the number of job-seeking IT security professionals.
Perfect Scenario for IT Security Pros Who Like to Travel
The US has two candidates for every three available jobs. It's worse in other countries. In Ireland and the UK, the ratio is one candidate per three job openings. This is putting companies at risk.
A report about the Life and Times of Cybersecurity Professionals has been released by ESG (Enterprise Strategy Group) in conjunction with Information Systems Security Association (ISSA). It states that 22 percent of survey takers whose organization had a cyber-attack in the past 24 months admitted their IT security teams are too small. Also, 18 percent claimed that the staff they did have couldn't handle the total workload.
So, if you're ready to make a move, your job prospects are super-heated, and you can have your pick of jobs.
This shortage of tech workers has hiring personnel working harder to get your attention over other companies.
The urgent need for talent has recruiters and hiring managers jumping through hoops to attract professionals to their organization, including great compensation. Overworked IT security teams are more likely to allow a breach. Of course, companies with too few qualified IT security experts are the perfect scenario for intrepid hackers.
Businesses must come up with better and more creative offer packages to draw professionals to their doorstep. This is great news for candidates. Salaries, benefits, and perks are showered on candidates in an attempt to win the bidding war with other companies seeking IT security skills.
So just how much money are we talking about? The Bureau of Labor Statistics says the average pay for cybersecurity engineers was $92,000 per year, $44.52 an hour. It's bound to creep over $100,000 in 2018. That's a 10 percent increase in a single year. Employers are going to be more open to negotiation to get you in the door.
IT Security Job Openings
The term cybersecurity covers a wide playing field. Let's look at the IT security jobs that will be most needed and the accompanying skill sets.
The Cyber Security Professional Trends Survey was released by the SANS Institute in 2014, The most sought-after jobs titles included:
- CISO/CSO expertise
- Forensics Investigator
- IT Security Architect
- Network Architect
- Security Analyst
- Security Engineer
- Systems Administrator
- Systems Engineer
If you are a security professional, you handle and respond to security issues. Other areas include compliance and audit management, intrusion detection, firewall expertise, intelligence and analytics, as well as SIEM management, access/ID badge management and monitoring, application development, malware early detection, and cloud considerations.
Do you have great testing skills to poke and prod at systems for holes? If so, this could well be your year. Companies are realizing that security breaches are growing in sophistication and number. To counteract that, open job listings are popping up every day. The key focus of all IT security professionals in to prevent unauthorized access. Barring that, the next step is damage control and remediation.
Any money thrown at this problem is well-justified, as the security for a company's financial and strategic records is paramount. If you are willing to get certifications, you can move up quickly without organizations. There's a demand for specialty skills, including handling incidents, detecting intrusion attempts made to your firewall, intelligence, data analytics, and other related tasks.
If you're a job candidate in a superheated market, your certifications move you to the top of any hiring manager's list. Increase your experience and credentials and pick your own compensation in 2018 and the coming years. This is a stable market that's not likely to crash any time soon.
Internet of Identities
With the rise of Internet of Things (IoT) devices, IT security jobs are being developed to ensure the safety of device data. If you love new technology and are adaptable, there are great, potential positions in this landscape.
As an IT security expert, you will deploy and manage implementations and operations. With all the various data points, IoT is a unique challenge. All the devices report data that could be useful to their owner. Someone must figure out various data flow and protection protocols, as well as develop the segmentation, network performance implication, and other details.
ESG has dubbed this requirement for identities the "Internet of Identities" (IoI). If more candidates don't materialize, data and access security will be compromised in this niche. Security teams that police the IoI world must enforce policies and provide end-to-end monitoring. However, such oversight requires a rare set of skills that add to the enormity of the global IT security shortages.
IT Security Certifications
The McAfee study underscores the fact that most companies need hands-on experience and formal certifications. The problem is that, with such a shortfall of qualified IT security engineers, many organizations have to train staff for internal needs. This means the entry barrier for candidates is set low, creating an opportunity for those wishing to switch fields.
Generally, if this describes you, you still need a bachelor's degree in a computer-related field. However, some companies offer paid internships, especially to existing employees. You might even get help with tuition if the company has tuition reimbursement programs. When companies can't find enough skilled workers on the market, they resort to on-the-job training.
Many undergraduate IT tracks don't include cybersecurity degrees, specializations, or even qualifying coursework for entry-level positions. So, certification programs are equally important and allow you the freedom to widen your search net on the open market. Companies are increasingly relying on the credentials of certification programs to find eligible candidates or to grow existing employees into the role.
By establishing smart professional development programs, employers can begin to bridge the gap between their staffing needs and the available talent pool. This is great news for employees or prospective employees seeking a placement that includes help with education and career pathing.
There are now a lot more options for current professionals to augment their experience through certificates. Look for companies that provide financial assistance for employees to pursue additional degrees via university study or independent coursework. For example, Cisco and Microsoft certificate programs are standard for IT security professionals.
When you are seeking an IT security job, consider the types of companies that value this skill set. The SANS survey suggests the following industries, where security skills are already becoming a major need.
- Banking, Finance and Insurance industries
- Information Technology
- Government Defense and other needs
- Consulting Firms
If you are a job candidate for IT security jobs, don't be surprised if you end up in one of the booming tech companies in metropolitan DC, New York, or the San Francisco-San Jose tech corridor. You'll be paid a lot, even to start out, and you can request extra benefits to negotiate. Best of all, if you aren't digging the vibe at your new company, you'll have no problem getting into a new one.
This is the Market for You
With demand so high, you'll have plenty of opportunities available to you. Take advantage of this market and use it to get the best possible outcome. Team up with ICS to find the best roles at the right companies. We have plenty of roles for your skills, and we'd love to place you at a place that is a perfect fit.