A recent report from Cybersecurity Ventures and Herjavec Group predicts that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cyber security jobs by 2021. (Forrest, 2017) While cyber security job openings continue to grow, there simply aren’t enough people who have the skills to do these jobs. This puts us all at risk, as cyber criminals become increasingly sophisticated and Internet of Things (IoT) devices proliferate. The need for security professionals is fast reaching a crisis point, and it is necessary for us to consider how to solve the cyber security talent shortage.
The diversity of the cyber security workforce is one area for focus. Currently, women make up only 11% of the cyber security workforce. Blacks, Hispanics, and Asians represent less than 12% of the cyber security workforce. This number needs to increase in order to meet the growing need for cyber security professionals, and to eliminate the cyber security talent shortage. In order for this to happen, a diverse group of young people must be encouraged to pursue STEM careers from a young age. (Eide, 2017) Girl Scouts of the USA has recently released a cyber security badge, which is one way to get girls interested. IEEE and Cricket Media, Inc. have also just announced a partnership called TryEngineering Together to encourage 3rd – 5th graders in under-resourced areas to consider STEM careers in the future.
Now is also an excellent time for those that wish to enter or re-enter the workforce to consider cyber security as a career choice. In order to address the cyber security talent shortage, many people will need to consider cyber security training in order to meet the growing needs of the field. IEEE, for example, offers training in both Cyber Security and Ethical Hacking, to help people gain the foundational skills they need to enter this growing market.
Most importantly, we must remove the stigma that states that computing is a male-only field. It is critical for the well-being of our networks, our devices, and our personal information that this cyber security talent shortage be addressed…and solved…before it become insurmountable.
Eide, N. (Oct 2017). How the Cybersecurity Industry Can Close the Growing Skills Gap. CIO Dive.
Forrest, C. (Oct 2017). Shark Tank’s Herjavec tells how to get one of 3.5M cybersecurity jobs that will be open by 2021. TechRepublic.