The unavailability of skilled talent to fill the millions of open positions in cybersecurity is known the world over. The cybersecurity skills gap that currently exists is tipped to get bigger in the coming years. According to Cybersecurity Ventures, there are around 3.5 million open jobs in cybersecurity globally while the US alone has around 350,000 open jobs out of those. Unfortunately, there aren’t enough trained professionals to fill this cybersecurity skills gap. It is high time that employers and talent alike started addressing this shortfall and working towards reducing this gap before it gets any bigger.
While these numbers are staggering, there are also reports floating around that it is still very difficult for people to get into the cybersecurity industry. With millions of open positions, this is something that is very hard to fathom. There have been cases in the recent past where people who have the qualifications but are still finding it difficult to find a job for themselves. Then there are other cases where individuals and organizations don’t even believe that a skills gap even exists. And they have very little to say about the unrealistic requirements that many organizations want cybersecurity professionals to meet to get a job.
Cybersecurity experts believe that the skills gap is definitely there. One of the main reasons for this gap is unrealistic job requirements of organizations that are posting these jobs. However, this factor isn’t as common as the social media projects. There are organizations out there that value the importance that cybersecurity programs have in helping talent upgrade their skills. So the blame of the cybersecurity skills gap can’t be put entirely on organizations that want candidates to fulfil unrealistic expectations. What cybersecurity programs do for these organizations is allow them to work with some of the best talent there is.
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Now organizations that post cybersecurity jobs with unrealistic requirements are often those that don’t have too much to spend on cybersecurity. Also, these companies either don’t have a big enough cybersecurity team or no team at all. Their recruitment teams aren’t experienced enough in hiring people from the cybersecurity industry and they can’t afford paying the high salaries to compete with the big players. However, there are a few things that these companies can do to improve their chances of hiring good cybersecurity talent.
The first thing that such companies can do is find out the areas in their job description that they can be more flexible in. Being rigid doesn’t help anybody’s cause. By being more flexible, companies will have more people applying for different positions in cybersecurity. This will improve their chances of closing these positions faster. Another thing that companies can do is invest more money in cybersecurity training. This will allow them to develop the talent that they currently have and retain them. It will also save them from posting vacancies often and waiting for the right talent to join.
Like other communities, cybersecurity also has a worldwide network that is often the best place to start the search for talent. The community members are always willing to ensure that everyone in the community gets a fair chance at getting the jobs that they deserve. Once companies start their search here, they are more likely to find the right talent in less time.
In addition to this, there are other reasons as well that are contributing to the cybersecurity skills gap. There has been a significant increase in cyber threats in the recent years. This has led companies to be more concerned about their data and systems amongst other things. What this has done is increase the demand for professionals with the right skills and experience in the cybersecurity industry. Other reasons that experts believe are behind this huge gap include not enough self-marketing, market misalignment, the need to outsource, and the declining focus on internal skills development. To add to that, technology is always growing and there are new advances every few years. This is also playing a role in increasing this skill gap. No wonder most of the students that are taking professional courses aren’t even considering cybersecurity as a career.
There is still a lot that can be done to improve this situation. Companies hiring for these roles need to think beyond college degrees. They need to prioritize knowledge and skills. Individuals that are willing to learn are capable of acquiring any skill. What companies need to start doing is considering people with non-traditional backgrounds for these jobs. Also, it is very important for organizations these days to re-evaluate their IT effectiveness. They don’t need a big cybersecurity team to handle the increasing number of cybersecurity threats. What they need instead is a team that is capable of performing most of the tasks on their own. It has also been found that several security functions can be handled by IT people alone.
Organizations can also bridge the skills gap by integrating cybersecurity thinking throughout, at every level. They need to understand that cybersecurity is not their IT team’s job. While the IT team can always be the lead, every individual that’s part of an organization needs to do their part in ensuring that enterprise resources are protected at any cost.
And sometimes, your employees can be the cause of cybersecurity issues. If they are overworked, their unintentional mistake can lead to a security problem. If your business operates at different levels, the communication gap between levels can often jeopardize your cybersecurity. And when both technical and non-technical people work to ensure security, making sure that the coordination between them is right is very important.
- Quick Tips For Employers And Talent To Solve The Cybersecurity Skills Gap | Karla Reffold | 18 March 2021
- 5 Ways to Address the Cybersecurity Skills Gap Within Your Organization | Ryan Manship
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