As an instructor, there are two great questions that I am often asked. “Are cybersecurity jobs in demand?” and “Are cybersecurity certifications worth it?”. Let’s see if we can look further into the answers to those questions. In the spirit of full disclosure, I am a professional cybersecurity trainer and have been in the training industry for 20 years, so my opinions may be biased, but I will attempt to show you the facts.
We will begin with the question “Are cybersecurity jobs in demand?” The answer is an easy “yes!”. Let’s start with a few reports. According to a 2017 Dice Report, a company that specializes in hiring technologists, the five hardest to fill tech rolls are:
- Software developers
- Java Developers
- Security Professionals
- .Net Experience
Of course, Dice would say that they focus on hiring technology…So let’s look at Forbes. They say that the fastest growing job with a Huge Skills Gap is…. Cyber Security. According to their article:
“Every year in the U.S., 40,000 jobs for information security analysts go unfilled, and employers are struggling to fill 200,000 other cyber-security related roles, according to cybersecurity data tool CyberSeek. And for every ten cybersecurity job ads that appear on careers site Indeed, only seven people even click on one of the ads, let alone apply.”
AT&T’s 2017 Global State of Cybersecurity study, 46% of U.S. firms plan to increase their cybersecurity staff over the next 12 months. This information is backed up by Cisco who claims that Cybersecurity will have 1.8 Million jobs unfilled by 2022. Finally, we come to the United States Department of Labor who lists the job outlook for an Information Security Analyst as increasing by 28% (Much faster than average), with 28,400 new jobs expected by 2016. The Department of Labor also says that the median annual wage was $92,600 in May 2016.
Ok, so now you are convinced that cybersecurity jobs are the future, and you are wondering how to make them your future, which brings us to the second question – “Are cybersecurity certifications worth it?” I believe the answer is again a solid “yes”. There are a few universities offering cyber security degrees, and most of those are in their infancy, so there are not many people currently in the job market with a four or more year degree in cybersecurity. I would expect that number to rise, however, a degree takes time and perhaps you already have a degree, what can you do now?
Security certifications are a great way to show that you already have at least the basic skills (if you do not have much experience to show on your resume) or a great way to showcase the experience that you already have. Forbes recommends legitimizing your skills by earning certifications such as the CISSP and Security+. Additionally, they recommend showing initiative in your own time. Taking a training course that leads to a certification can do both.
While a security certification alone will not guarantee you a job, lack of a certification may prevent you from even getting an interview. A quick search on your favorite tech job posting site will likely come up with a slew of hits requiring a certification as a part of the job requirements. If you are looking for a government job relating to information security, then you need to be familiar with DoD 8140 which replaces DoD 8570 and states certification requirements for anyone holding an information assurance position. Please refer to the following link to see the full list of certification requirements. https://iase.disa.mil/iawip/Pages/iabaseline.aspx
Still not certain that cybersecurity is a great career choice? I have one final site for you to look at and one more quote from them. First the quote “In 2016 there were 112,000 openings for Information Security Analysts, but only 96,870 workers currently employed in those positions – an annual talent shortfall of over 15,000 workers for cybersecurity’s largest job.” This comes from Cyberseek.org, which has a great interactive map showing where in the U.S. those jobs are located. Additionally, Cyberseek offers an excellent Career Pathway tool where you can find multiple security job titles and their associated education and certification requirements.