The most in-demand cyber security skills in 2017
If in the past there was any question about it, there certainly no longer is: cyber security is one of the most important considerations for each and every business. The prevalence of cyber-attacks is nearly universal due to a combination of an increase in computing power and an increase in the use of computer systems and the internet. There is an expansion in both the ability of the attackers and the number of targets. For this reason, people with cyber security skills are in very high demand, and there is a growing skills gap.
Working in cyber security
There is a strong argument to be made that adopting cyber security as your area of expertise is likely to lead to a very lucrative career. A recent ESG/ISSA research report, Through the Eyes of Cybersecurity Professionals, argues that businesses should take the cyber security skills shortage into account in every cyber security decision. The report points out that not only is there a limited number of skilled workers, but they are also not very highly skilled.
Aside from being in high demand, cyber security professionals will also find that they have very flexible options when it comes to choosing how much and where they work. Contracting is a common arrangement that brings benefits along the lines of higher remuneration and flexibility. The overheads of operating as a contractor need not be a problem either – using an umbrella company reduces the additional responsibilities usually associated with contract roles, such as issuing and collecting invoices and filing tax returns.
Areas with the biggest shortages in skills
According to the ESG/ISSA report, the area of security analysis and investigations has the biggest shortage of skills. The ability to see the bigger picture and look after an organisation’s security concerns on all levels, on an executive and managerial level, is not easy, and there’s a matching lack of qualified experts who can perform this task.
Closely behind is a need for experts on application level security, while security for cloud apps and operations are also hard to recruit for. As more and more computing is performed in the cloud, this is a particularly prominent field in which to be involved. Employers are also concerned that they can’t find professionals to cover skills in the areas of security engineering, penetration testing, and risk and compliance. In fact, virtually all skills areas come up in the report as lacking in availability: mobile computing, database security and network security are all hard to recruit for.
Training more cyber security professionals
There is a risk that the shortage is so acute that the only way to recruit employees is to poach them from other employers. The report suggests that internal training and building the skills of existing non-technical employees. It also leaves the door wide open for people who are not currently in the field to build skills that they can sell to employers. Though experience is important, formal training can put you on a career path that is without doubt very lucrative.