Everyone’s talking about cybersecurity and how it cuts across every area of both our business and personal lives. Cybersecurity jobs are in high demand and this doesn’t seem to be slowing down anytime soon. Here's a look at the future of work for cybersecurity professionals.
The current cybersecurity jobs landscape
From data breaches to identity theft, there are clear indications that cyber crime is on the rise. Hackers are becoming more sophisticated and businesses are scrambling to find more effective ways to stop them in their tracks. Consequently, organizations are constantly in search of cybersecurity professionals to help steer them to safer tides.
The biggest challenge with the current cybersecurity jobs landscape is that there are far too many jobs than experts available. In the US for instance, there was a shortfall of over 300,000 cybersecurity professionals as of January 2019. While this may seem like the ideal situation if you’re considering a cybersecurity career, there’s more to the situation than just numbers. As the demand rises, existing and aspiring cybersecurity professionals need to strike a balance between applying their computer science-related degrees in the field and upskilling themselves at the same time. Relevant certifications along with IT experience can make such professionals much more employable.
The future however continues to look bright as it’s currently projected that there would be at least 3.5 million cybersecurity related jobs required by 2021.
Top trends that will affect cybersecurity jobs in the future
The following are some of the key IT trends and factors that will continue to drive demand for cybersecurity jobs in the future.
Internet of Things (IoT)
The Internet of Things (IoT) which essentially relates to the interconnectedness of our everyday devices will continue to drive demand for cybersecurity jobs especially as businesses continue to see and protect the data shared by the devices as well as mitigate the risks associated with the numerous endpoints they create.
Artificial intelligence and automation
AI essentially simulates human intelligence to get results. With 32% of organizations already depending on AI and automation in fighting cyber threats, it’s role in influencing cybersecurity jobs cannot be overlooked. While there are concerns that AI and automation will take up vital cybersecurity jobs in the future, there is also the possibility that they will open up more opportunities as they evolve.
In terms of cybersecurity, machine learning (ML) deals with the development of systems that can learn from data. While this may seem like another case of robots taking jobs, there’s more to it that meets the eye. Since ML mostly deals with generalization and representation of data, it’ll lead to an increased demand for cybersecurity analysts who can identify patterns and reliably interpret these data.
Data protection regulations
Data protection regulations like the GDPR have already transformed how data is collected and stored worldwide as well as how organizations respond to data breaches. As similar regulations are developed worldwide, cybersecurity professionals will be needed to not only help prevent data breaches but also become data protection experts.
5 cybersecurity skills for the future
Let’s explore five of the most popular cybersecurity skills you can expect to remain or become relevant in the future.
Cybersecurity professionals will continue to be relied upon to manage incident handling and response activities for their organizations’ IT systems. Currently, many organizations including government departments outsource some of their incident handling and response activities to MSPs but this may change to in-house personnel as the cybersecurity landscape evolves.
Security tools expertise
With many mature security tools including SIEM platforms available in the market, as a cybersecurity professional, you’ll be expected to have a firm understanding on how to effectively use these tools to protect your organization.
While it was perfectly normal for network administrators to manage IT and security projects, the evolution of the cyber threat landscape means that project managers that specialize in security will continue to be in demand now and in the future.
Having all the security tools in your cyber arsenal may be all well and good, but without a competent security analyst to bring all these tools together and integrate them into where they fit in your enterprise, you’re heading nowhere.
Soft skills like critical and analytical thinking as well as being collaborative are increasingly highly sought after in the cybersecurity industry as they essentially help you think outside the box or think like a hacker and work seamlessly with others across your organization in the fight against cybercrime.
5 cybersecurity certifications that’ll remain relevant in the future
The following explores the top five cybersecurity certifications that’ll be relevant for the future of cybersecurity jobs.
GIAC Security Expert (GSE): This is widely considered as one of the most prestigious cybersecurity certifications currently available and will remain so in the future.
CEH: Certified Ethical Hacker: As hacker sophistication continues to rise, so will the demand for cybersecurity experts with this certification.
CISM: Certified Information Security Manager: Since it was first introduced in 2003, the CISM certification continues to grow in relevance and is designed for “managing, developing and overseeing information security systems in enterprise-level applications, or for developing best organizational security practices”.
CompTIA Security+: Offers multiple variations for different cybersecurity professionals and is known for the broad knowledge and highly technical skills that it tests potential holders of the certification for.
CISSP: Certified Information Systems Security Professional: This advanced elite certification is currently one of the most popular and will continue to remain essential if you’re looking to have a serious career in cybersecurity.
While there’s already a boom in the number of cybersecurity jobs available, this trend is set to continue in the future. Just as existing roles will need to be filled, newer roles will open up in response to evolving threats and cybersecurity challenges. However, if you’re interested in having a career in cybersecurity, you’ll need to ensure you’re fully armed with the relevant certifications, knowledge and experience that ensure you’re capable of protecting the IT systems of the organizations you work for.