Demand for Cybersecurity Professionals Grows

National Cybersecurity Month is winding down, but the need for cybersecurity is continually ramping up. The recent Equifax security breach affected millions of Americans and made it clear that cybersecurity is important to our daily lives, not just to banks, businesses and government agencies. This need for security has created a demand for security analysts and career opportunity for higher education students.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the demand for Information Security Analysts will continue to grow by 36.5 percent from 2012 to 2022. And beyond that, from 2016 to 2026, the employment rate for cybersecurity professionals is expected to increase 28 percent. Both of these rates are much faster than the average 6.5 percent increase for all occupations.

The BLS reports that there are a number of factors creating this demand for cybersecurity, such as the use of electronic medical records, and increased mobile technology. “Demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high, as these analysts will be needed to create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or causing problems for computer networks.”

Higher education students can seize the opportunities ahead and be sure their education path includes what employers demand in potential security analysts. Burning Glass Technologies has analyzed thousands of employment postings and determined that most cybersecurity jobs require a degree. A bachelor’s degree is the required education level for 61 percent of postings, a master’s degree for 23 percent and an associate’s or lower for 16 percent of job postings.

Burning Glass analysis also shows that more than a third of cybersecurity job postings ask for a certification. A certification such as Certified Information Security Professional (CISSP) can mean significant salary increases for workers. And, reports Burning Glass, “more importantly, there are more job openings than certification holders right now, in some cases with three openings for every certification holder. So a certification makes a jobseeker much more marketable.”

Cyber Degrees also offers insight into skills that students seeking to work in cybersecurity need to develop. Employers are definitely looking for the technical skills and knowledge that come with computer science and cybersecurity degrees, but there are additional demands. “Soft skills like writing, teaching and public speaking are equally important. As part of your job, you’ll be expected to draft policies, talk over issues with upper management and explain how your security plans fit into the larger corporate picture.”

The need for more students to earn cybersecurity degree and acquire the necessary skills was a topic for discussion on Capitol Hill late this month. A joint hearing of the House subcommittee on cybersecurity and infrastructure protection and the subcommittee on higher education and workforce discussed the need for security professionals. Rep. Brett Guthrie (R-KY) stated that a recent study by Intel Security and the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) showed that more than 209,000 cybersecurity jobs in the United States are unfilled. Job postings in the field are up 74 percent over the past five years. And David Jarvis, chief information officer at the IBM Institute of Business Value, said that right now not enough students are graduating with the right technical skills and soft skills. The need for cybersecurity presents an opportunity for students to earn degrees and acquire skills that will bring employment security as it solves security issues.