Why aren’t more people choosing cybersecurity as a career?

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It’s a big question – all over the IT industry, cybersecurity professionals are very much in demand. Companies need help circling the wagons, protecting trade secrets and sensitive data sets, and locking down systems to keep out records of hackers and repel black hat efforts.

So why aren’t people moving toward this type of job role? (Read also: The Truth About Cybersecurity.)

Part of the reason for a lack of cybersecurity professionals in the market is related to the skills and experience that are needed to tackle this kind of job.

Simply put, cybersecurity work requires specialized skill, not only in mathematical and stochastic fields like programming, but in other areas where inside knowledge is crucial. It’s not easy to come from outside this industry and get a foothold inside of it. Many cybersecurity professionals have advanced degrees that give them a true window into this demanding field.

Another reason for the lack of professional availability is the gender disparity that exists across IT, and it certainly applies to cybersecurity as well.

Although women have been making inroads, doubling their representation in cybersecurity from 2013 to the end of 2019 according to some surveys, there’s a consensus that men still outnumber women in the cybersecurity field, although many women are reportedly accessing higher positions within the industry.

Groups like Women in Cybersecurity (WiCyS) work to increase the role of women in cybersecurity with events, job boards and other member support services intended to widen opportunities for women in this part of IT.

Then there’s also a lack of formal job training. Up until recently, cybersecurity was not a very active training field, and the result is that some of the best cybersecurity people around have largely unrelated degrees in data science or something else. (Read also: Job Role: Data Scientist.)

Now, there are training programs emerging, but it seems that in some ways, it’s too little, too late — there just don’t seem to be enough trained and educated people with the skill sets to tackle cybersecurity for companies.

In general, you could say that a skills gap is the major culprit. There are also worker shortages in fields like electrical work, plumbing, and heating, cooling and air conditioning. Cybersecurity is very similar to those other things, but even more targeted and specific in the skill sets that it requires. That’s a major reason why there just aren’t enough cybersecurity people to go around.

One of the best solutions would be aggressive job training platforms that make it clear the trajectory from certificate completion to gainful employment, because cybersecurity experts really do make quite a lot of money on average.

Awareness seems to be a driver, and fully preparing a new generation for the technical side could help to get more applicants in the door.

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Justin Stoltzfus
Justin Stoltzfus

Justin Stoltzfus is an independent blogger and business consultant assisting a range of businesses in developing media solutions for new campaigns and ongoing operations. He is a graduate of James Madison University.Stoltzfus spent several years as a staffer at the Intelligencer Journal in Lancaster, Penn., before the merger of the city’s two daily newspapers in 2007. He also reported for the twin weekly newspapers in the area, the Ephrata Review and the Lititz Record.More recently, he has cultivated connections with various companies as an independent consultant, writer and trainer, collecting bylines in print and Web publications, and establishing a reputation…