(Updated 22 Nov 2019)
Week 2 of National Cybersecurity Awareness Month is focused on raising awareness about the need for cybersecurity professionals and inspiring students and those entering (or re-entering) the workforce to consider the many opportunities to contribute in this field.
Technology is an integral part of our way of life. Our work, our finances, the utilities we depend on, even our entertainment is powered by technology and the internet. Yet, there’s a shortage of professionals to operate, maintain, oversee, and protect this infrastructure. By some estimates, there will be 3.5 million unfilled jobs in cybersecurity by 2021.
How can we help fill this gap?
Educating students of all types is one place to start. Parents, counselors, and teachers can encourage young people to explore the field of cybersecurity and foster their interests. Resources such as Nova Labs and CyberPatriot offer information and opportunities for students to learn and practice skills that can prepare them for future cybersecurity careers.
There are tons of opportunities for veterans, those re-entering the workforce, and those looking for a career change. While cybersecurity jobs do require some level of technical skill, working in cybersecurity doesn’t necessarily mean sitting in a basement room working with code. Skills such as problem solving, analysis, project management, ability to communicate verbally and in writing, team building, and leadership are all necessary.
According to the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework: “Skills needed for cybersecurity rely less on physical manipulation of tools and instruments and more on applying tools, frameworks, processes, and controls that have an impact on the cybersecurity posture of an organization or individual.”
The skills and abilities that made you successful so far will help you succeed in cybersecurity as well, and there are many places to learn the specific technical knowledge for different cybersecurity roles.
Interested in learning more about a career in cybersecurity?
The NICE Framework is a detailed resource that describes cybersecurity work and the knowledge, skills, and abilities required for cybersecurity work roles. Another resource for those interested in cybersecurity positions is CyberSeek, which provides information about supply and demand in the cybersecurity job market, as well as an example career pathway for common key job roles. CyberSeek recently published a study in which they analyzed cybersecurity salaries and prospects in each state to identify which states are doing the best job of encouraging this increasingly important industry.
In addition, the Cyber Security Education website provides information on careers, certifications, and formal education programs to prepare you for a rewarding cybersecurity career.
Take a look at some of the many resources out there and consider becoming part of this growing and critical career field!