November 27, 2017

Cyber Security Demand Far Outstripping Supply

Want a career that will never stop giving? Want a career that will be increasingly important and give you opportunity to grow your career and increase your income while challenging you to learn new things constantly?

In 2007 a computer science student came into my office at CSUS asking me to help him get a job in computer security. I had no idea what he was talking about. I was used to learning about emerging technologies but as I researched the subject I knew that this was bigger and more intense than most other previous changes in the job market I had witnessed. I realized that I needed experts in the field to share information with the students and academics in my world. Academics tend to run behind the real world…

I sent out letters of inquiry to every organization I guessed might have computer security - utilities, the state of California, the CHP, defense contractors… I also found the local chapter of a computer professional association - ISSA. I even ruffled a few feathers in the campus computer center sending an email announcing a computer security event and requesting ideas, info and speakers. The note definitely hit a nerve. Response was swift. The director of the Campus Computer Center thought I was treading on his domain hosting a seminar on cyber security. We rolled anyway.

The January 2008 seminar brought in top experts from Government, Law Enforcement, Industry and the Military who were grappling with foreign and domestic attacks on computer systems. The event raised faculty and student awareness of hardware, software, Internet, and network security issues and identified career opportunities and career paths in the field. The message was clear – computer security was going to explode with opportunities.

That was in 2008 when the rest of the public and business world was barely waking up to hackers attacking private companies and personal information from countless millions.

Cyber attacks are now ubiquitous. Last week, on the heels of the Equifax debacle, the Sacramento Regional Transit was hacked and it became obvious how important cyber security has become. The damage caused by intrusion on financial information pales in comparison to attacks on transportation systems taken by millions of people worldwide. Think losing control to hackers with your car, a plane, a train, or rapid transit system... Catastrophic! No industry, government agency, university, healthcare system, transit system, business… the list goes on… is immune. I am stating the obvious – we need more computer security experts now!

One of the participants of the 2008 computer security event, Rick Burke,
Information System Security Manager, with the Defense Microelectronics Activity, a DOD operation in Sacramento keeps me informed on demand at DMEA and in the cyber security field. He recently sent me the following info:
    TOTAL CYBERSECURITY JOB OPENINGS -- the number of online job listings for cybersecurity-related positions from October 2016 through September 2017. 285,681

    TOTAL EMPLOYED CYBERSECURITY WORKFORCE -- the estimated number of workers employed in cybersecurity-related jobs in 2016. This includes workers in primary cybersecurity jobs – such as cybersecurity analysts – as well as workers in roles requiring cybersecurity-related skills and certifications to capture the full potential cybersecurity workforce. 746,858
“Cybersecurity talent gaps exist across the country” according to Cyber Seek, an interactive site with tools to help you navigate the career areas of cyber security.

Run your cursor across the circles on the cyber security pathways page and you will be astounded at the salaries and abundance of options in cyber tech.

If you are weighing your other options the Occupational Outlook Handbook is the best source for career information in computer fields. This source gives you career descriptions as well as information on demand salaries.

So if you want the perfect career, with meaningful work that makes a difference and that will keep you employed forever…