Fifteen years ago, our relationship to technology looked vastly different to the way it does today. We weren’t staring at smartphones or posting regular updates to social media. And while cyberthreats have been around in one form or another since the 1970s, cybersecurity wasn’t really a “thing” until the 2000s.
Neither were serious cybersecurity careers.
Today, demand for cybersecurity professionals is skyrocketing, and the sector boasts some of the most lucrative careers in tech. But despite the financial incentive, companies are struggling to attract and retain cybersecurity talent. A 2018 study from Capgemini revealed that 68% of employers report a high demand for cybersecurity skills at their company.
That demand is only expected to increase. By 2021, it’s predicted that 3.5 million cybersecurity positions will go unfilled—with cybercrime costing the world $6 trillion annually.
That sounds scary, and it is. But the good news is, now is the ideal time to join the frontlines and help protect businesses and the public against cyberthreats. With a reported 0% unemployment rate in the industry, cybersecurity careers are some of the hottest in the market, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon. Here’s why.
Cyberattacks are on the rise, and companies know they need to do more
The news has been flooded with reports of high-profile malware attacks, data breaches, and ransomware outbreaks in recent years, and companies across every industry are understandably starting to sweat.
It seems no one is immune, with small companies targeted just as often as big ones. And these attacks cost more than just money. The lost productivity and damage to a company’s reputation can be devastating.
Take the Equifax data breach of 2017. More than 146 million customers were affected—about 45% of the American population—and 99% had their Social Security numbers exposed. Within a week of the breach coming to light, the company lost an estimated $4 billion.
In the same year, the WannaCry ransomware attack infected 300,000 computer systems in just four days—including many belonging to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). This resulted in around 19,000 cancelled appointments, with at least 139 urgent cancer care referrals among them.
As the NHS attack shows, cyberthreats aren’t just a financial concern for organizations these days: they can pose a serious risk to public safety. And many companies are promising to do more to mitigate this risk.
Facebook, for example, pledged last year that it would double its 10,000-strong safety and security staff by the end of 2018, amid concerns that malicious fake accounts were spreading disinformation. To put that in perspective, Facebook only had 20,685 staff total as of June 30, 2018.
But to make this increasing emphasis on cybersecurity effective, companies need to find employees that possess these vital skills.
Learning cybersecurity skills can boost your career prospects, salary, and job security
For jobseekers, there’s never been a better time to retrain and learn in-demand cybersecurity skills.
“Cybersecurity is in such high demand and low supply that candidates sometimes have two, three, or even four job offers at the same time,” says Kate Shannon, Managing Partner of Heidrick & Struggles.
And since cybersecurity roles are some of the least susceptible to automation, these positions offer a level of job security that others simply can’t. That’s because the industry relies on the human touch, e.g. thinking like a hacker to outsmart one.
Job security is just one benefit of entering this field. Compensation is another big draw. Even adjusted for cost of living, Indeed found that in the US, annual salaries range from $98,159 to $125,173 in the top 10 metro areas that pay the most for cybersecurity jobs.
And those jobs are in high demand all over the country. According to Indeed, Washington, DC, and New York City are the two biggest hubs of cybersecurity talent, thanks to federal government and financial industry demand respectively. But the Midwest, South, and both Coasts all boast plenty of well-paid opportunities for cybersecurity professionals.
Boot camps can open the door to a career in cybersecurity
Whether you have a background in computer science or the arts, boot camps can equip you with the fundamental skills you need to embrace a career in cybersecurity.
More importantly, these courses can teach you how to learn. In such a rapidly evolving field, this mindset is crucial if you want to stay ahead of emerging threats.
On IBM’s Security Intelligence blog, the company explains that “situational abilities and a willingness to learn matter more than an idealized skill set.” The blog also notes that students who don’t come from a traditional IT background may actually have an easier time learning these skills, since they come in fresh and aren’t held back by long-held beliefs about how things are done.
That’s not to say that the learning curve won’t be steep. But for students who put in the effort, the training can change your life.
Take the first step toward a career in cybersecurity. New Trilogy-powered cybersecurity boot camps at UCLA, University of Denver, and Georgia Tech can give you the solid foundation you need, with training in Wireshark, Metasploit, Python programming, and more.