Every kid talks about what they want to be when they grow up – maybe it’s an astronaut, an actor or baseball player. A cybersecurity professional is not usually thrown into the mix. But that needs to change because of something we security professionals call the “skills shortage.”
Currently, there aren’t enough people available with the right skills to address the influx of cyberattacks against organizations and individuals alike. In fact, according to a study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, by 2022, there will be a shortage of 1.8 million information security workers. How do we change that?
How to Help Spread Skills
So why is it that students and professionals aren’t exploring cybersecurity as a profession? The main reason: lack of proper education and training. Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education is lacking the right resources, funding and attention it needs in order to help us shape the cybersecurity professionals of tomorrow. Proper STEM education plays an essential role in graduating the students who know how to use technology safely, securely, ethically and productively. Additionally, we must make sure that current education continues to foster analytical and instinctive minds that are equipped with soft skills such as persistence and curiosity.
As for existing workers, current employers and leaders need to direct IT professionals towards training, mentoring programs and career development counseling. Only then can professionals begin to learn about what it means to work in cybersecurity. And more importantly, leaders must explain the importance and benefits associated with a career in cybersecurity.
The Benefits of a Career in Cybersecurity
In my opinion, the most impactful way to encourage interest in cybersecurity is by explaining the value in it. By growing interest we can grow the amount of skilled future candidates. Teachers, leaders and parents alike should all be able to explain the exciting and rewarding opportunities in the field of cybersecurity and how a role in the field can positively impact the world. It’s not just protecting devices and networks – a role in cybersecurity means protecting the personal safety and privacy of individuals globally.
Beyond cybersecurity’s positive impact, the field also typically features high salaries, excellent benefits and seemingly endless numbers of employers and job openings. And with cyberattacks only continuing to increase in size and frequency, having a role protecting against those attacks means there’s consistent job security.
So, what are you waiting for? Whether you’re a parent, a leader or just a worker considering a new opportunity, it’s time to either start promoting or investing in the right education and training now, so we can all do our part in supporting the cybersecurity industry and keeping the world safe from cyberattacks to come.
About the Author
Gary Davis is the chief consumer security evangelist at McAfee. Through a consumer lens, he partners with internal teams to drive strategic alignment of products with the needs of the security space. Gary also provides security education to businesses and consumers by distilling complex security topics into actionable advice. During his 8+ years at McAfee, he has held leadership roles in the consumer and enterprise divisions, where he has helped shape various product portfolios and strategic direction along with advocating for cybersecurity education.
He is a sought-after speaker on trends in digital security, including the evolving threat landscape, privacy and securing the Internet of Things. He has presented at high -profile conferences and events including CES, Mobile World Congress, and CTIA Super Mobility. Gary has appeared on multiple business, security and consumer lifestyle broadcast outlets, including CBS News, CNBC, FOX News, Bloomberg, WSJ MoneyBeat and quoted in the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Money Magazine, CNN, Forbes, TIME Magazine and more.
Prior to joining McAfee, he held senior management positions for more than 20 years in technology companies. Gary has served on the board of directors of the National Cyber Security Alliance.