It’s estimated that there will be 3.5 million* unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2021. This bodes well for anyone interested in a cybersecurity career and creates a challenge for those hiring. The good news is that the traditional cybersecurity role is changing and the traditional approach to identifying talent is all but obsolete.
There are many career paths within the industry, and professionals with a variety of skills in any field can find themselves on the front lines contributing to an organization’s cybersecurity and larger business goals.
Whether you’re pursuing a career in cybersecurity or looking for new talent, here’s what it comes down to:
- Education and experience in all shapes and sizes
If you don’t have a cybersecurity background or even a college degree – don’t write off a career in cybersecurity. For example, you could check out this listing of 50 cybersecurity online courses** – even if you’re a beginner. There’s more than one way to enter the field. At Bank of America, we’re continuing to expand our partnership with Year Up, a nonprofit organization that connects young adults with companies who need their talent. We’ve also developed an Applied Technology Program in partnership with UNC Charlotte as a way of tapping into non-traditional resource pools.
While cybersecurity is considered a specialized, niche career, cyber skills are found in countless disciplines beyond traditional security, computer programming and engineering. Employers are actively hiring from fields like advertising, technology and teaching.
- Diversity by design
While we work hard to fill the talent gap, hackers work to evolve their tactics and find new ways to target consumers, businesses and governments. Cybersecurity experts must reflect the demographics, needs and experience of the businesses and customers they protect, so building a diverse team helps organizations to innovate and stay a step ahead. At Bank of America, we’ve heavily invested in our information security team and have a relentless focus on diversity. We also invest in organizations like Girls Who Code, whose singular mission is to close the gender gap in technology. We have to think long-term, investing in efforts today that inspire kids to consider a path in cybersecurity. Industry, government and academia must collectively lead the charge in attracting diverse professionals from all backgrounds who bring unique approaches to problem-solving and help change the mindset about what a cybersecurity professional is. Cyber attackers don’t fit into one demographic, so why should our security professionals?
- Making cybersecurity part of the fabric of your organization
At Bank of America, we strive for “best tech, best talent.” Take the time to identify existing talent in your organization and invest in their continued growth and success. And let’s be clear, cybersecurity is not just an information technology problem; educate the entire organization and build a strong cyber culture by developing employee cybersecurity awareness, proficiency and personal accountability. Cybersecurity is everyone’s job and everyone’s business.
The shortage of cybersecurity professionals is a national and economic security concern, especially for critical infrastructure firms that are faced with growing cyber threats. Attracting talent cannot be the only priority – organizations need to develop and retain their talent too. We should actively carve out opportunities that inspire kids to envision how cybersecurity could play into their future.
With a stronger focus on empowering women and men from a variety of backgrounds, ethnicities and experiences, anyone with a passion for cybersecurity can pursue and grow a career in one of the most exciting and rewarding technology fields of our time.
*Source: Cybersecurity Jobs Report 2018-2021. The Cybersecurity Jobs Report is sponsored by Herjavec Group, a leading global information security advisory firm and Managed Security Services Provider (MSSP) with offices across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
**Source: List of various cybersecurity training courses compiled by Heimdal Security
About the Author
Craig Froelich is chief information security officer for Bank of America. He leads a team of experts in 13 countries dedicated to protecting the company’s 47 million consumer and business clients. This includes ensuring 35 million online banking customers and 24 million mobile users can transact knowing their money and information is safe.
The Global Information Security team provides world-class defenses for current and future threats within the firm and partners closely with industry and government associations to keep the sector secure.
Froelich, who was among the Top 100 Global CISOs, has also received industry awards for his leadership, including the 2017 CISO of the Year by the North Carolina Technology Association. He has long supported programs that narrow the gender gap in technology, serving as an executive sponsor for Girls Who Code, and participating in employee networks such as Women in Technology & Operations.
Bank of America’s Global Information Security team is also a group of inventors. In 2017, the team were granted 38 patents and Froelich has personally been an inventor of six of those patents. The team strives for innovation through a commitment to diversity of talent, actively recruiting women, veterans, people of color, and members of the LGBTQIA community.