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Security Feature

February 15, 2017

Help Wanted: 1.8 Million Cybersecurity Professionals

By Steve Anderson, Contributing Writer

Wanted immediately: almost two million cybersecurity professionals to help keep all our online efforts safer. That theoretical help wanted ad might well be going up soon, as new reports detail how the job market for cybersecurity professionals right now is very much a seller's market.

A new study from the Center for Cyber Safety and Education revealed that, by 2022, we will be seeing a gap of 1.8 million information security workers, which is itself up 20 percent from the shortfall forecast back in 2015, which was at 1.5 million.  In order to fill this gap, the study found, the cybersecurity market would have to focus on the needs and desires of millennial workers, which would require a sea change from how many businesses are currently organized.

Millennial workers have long had a set of goals considered unusual by preceding generations, including things like better career development options—including training programs and no-charge access to industry events—as well as a greater flexibility at work. In fact, most millennials are more interested in being security consultants than security managers, a development many workplaces likely aren't set up to accommodate. Perhaps the only real saving grace here is that millennials are less interested in salaries than previous generations; though millennials do get higher increases, salary is not top priority.

Booz Allen executive vice president Angela Messer commented, “To attract, retain and empower these millennials, it’s clear from the Global Information (News - Alert) Security Workforce Study that our industry must be innovative not only in its tradecraft, but also in how we support this next generation of information security professionals.”

In a time when cybersecurity has never been so important, the last thing we need going forward is a lot of “now hiring” signs out on all the cybersecurity doors, so to speak. We cannot, must not, be weak now, and we need the efforts of pretty much everybody willing to set up cybersecurity in and swinging. New threats are constantly emerging, and new technologies are being actively developed to protect against these threats and others, but we need good, qualified people in place developing to protect these systems. If that means more internal training, or even some seemingly bizarre new commitments to flex-time and work-life balance that have never been seen before, so be it.

With more applications coming into play every day for things like mobile workforce operations, mobile banking and mobile commerce, we need greater cybersecurity than ever. We won't get there down almost two million workers, and the hiring binges need to start now.

Edited by Alicia Young

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