One of the impacts of the pandemic is that it forced us to reexamine our relationship with work. In fact, in November 2021, a record 4.5 million Americans left their jobs in what's become known as the Great Resignation. And the phenomenon is showing no sign of slowing down in 2022. However, less attention is paid to the fact that the vast majority left their jobs for better career opportunities. So the “Great Resignation” should really be called the “Great Career Reflection”.
With millions of job openings and fewer employees to fill them, companies are scrambling to find ways to entice potential talent by providing better career opportunities for people to grow. Because every crisis creates opportunities, there's no better time than now to make a long-awaited career change.
One area where demand for talent has boomed over the last few years is cybersecurity. According to research by Cybersecurity Ventures, it was estimated there would be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by the end of 2021. In the U.S. alone, there are roughly 598,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs, as of April 2022.
Why the demand for cybersecurity professionals is growing
Cybercrimes and cybersecurity threats have been with us since 1950s. And although cyber-attacks can have various motives, from political to financial, they all have one ultimate goal in common: to potentially cause maximum pain.
In recent years, cybercriminals began to heavily target companies, government agencies, and critical infrastructure with devastating effects. Recent headlines such as the Colonial Pipeline ransomware attack confirm that the number of cybersecurity threats is only going to increase and lead to more and more devastating impacts in the future.
This is why global spending on cybersecurity has reached $145 billion a year and is estimated to have exceeded $1 trillion between 2017 and 2021, according to the World Economic Forum.
What do Cybersecurity Professionals Do?
In a nutshell, it is the cybersecurity professionals who work in the front lines of this “cyber warfare” to tackle the growing threats by making sure hardware, software, systems, and networks are all safe from attacks.
As such, one of their core job functions is to prevent cyberattacks from occurring in the first place.
They do this by hardening the organization’s systems, using a variety of tools, techniques, and practices, to remove security risks by eliminating any potential vulnerabilities. They then proactively monitor systems to search for suspicious and potentially malicious activities.
Prevention also relies on establishing robust and comprehensive cybersecurity policies that detail what employees can and cannot do in order to protect the organization’s data, networks, and computer systems.
Along with policies, another aspect of prevention is continuous education and training of employees on “cybersecurity hygiene”. This involves training employees on best practices and procedures to maintain the health and security of the organization’s systems.
And when attacks inevitably happen, cybersecurity professionals take on the role of forensic investigating to determine to the root cause of vulnerabilities, assess the scope and scale of the impact, and determine ways to mitigate risks in the future.
Finally, cybersecurity professionals also take on an advisory role on cybersecurity matters and provide their subject matter expertise to other teams across the organization.
Why Cybersecurity is a great career choice
There are several reasons why cybersecurity is a great career choice. For one, it's recession-proof because it offers the highest level of job security right now and in the foreseeable future. Challenges are only going to get bigger and more complicated as we move into the future.
This is why the cybersecurity field offers one of the most future-proof career paths today and why the number of jobs is growing exponentially.
Second, a career in cybersecurity is rewarding. As a real-life superhero, you defend your organization against security threats. If you work in the government sector, then what is more rewarding than knowing that you work protects federal, state, and local government data, and in turn your fellow citizens, from cybercrimes.
Third, cybersecurity is an exciting field because it is a multidisciplinary domain, often requiring business, leadership, technical, and regulatory knowledge. This provides the opportunity to specialize in a variety of roles and functions. This also offers the opportunity to pursue both technical and non-technical career tracks, as both skills are needed in an effective cybersecurity team.
Finally, cybersecurity is pervasive across all industries, sectors, and geographic areas. This makes it possible to find job opportunities in various types of business and geographic areas of the country.
You can make a career transition at any age
What is also great about cybersecurity is that it is never too late to make a career transition to this field. Whether you are starting your career, considering a mid-career transition, or have no technical experience, there are opportunities for all job seekers.
No cybersecurity experience, no problem
There are distinct advantages of starting your career in the cybersecurity field.
The Level of experience and training that is required vary significantly which means you can get a job with minimal experience and formal education.
Additionally, the opportunities for upward career growth are unlimited. As you gain more experience and skills, you will have the opportunity to take on more leadership roles. This means that your career trajectory can take off quickly placing you at the forefront of exciting opportunities.
Another advantage is gaining transferable technical and non-technical skills relevant to other equally in demand domains of expertise. These skills can help you transition to and grow your career in other relevant fields. For example, many of the skills you will gain in the Cybersecurity field are transferable to the IT field.
Time for a mid-career switch
If you are in mid-career, you are in a great position to transition to cybersecurity field because of the valuable experience and expertise you have acquired in your previous jobs. Combine your current skills with cybersecurity training and companies will be very interested in talking to you.
This is especially the case for those who have some technical background. These professionals are very attractive candidates because of the many transferable skills they possess and their familiarity with technical topics relevant to cybersecurity.
Non-technical background wanted
Even those with limited or no technical background have many opportunities to break into the cybersecurity field.
Because of its multidisciplinary nature and the need for business and leadership skills, there are many opportunities in cybersecurity for non-technical professionals. For example, there is always going to be a need for professionals with management experience. With the right cybersecurity training, these professionals can make themselves very attractive to a cybersecurity organizations who are lacking experienced leaders.
Additionally, because companies are desperate for talent, there are also opportunity to transition to the field for those who may not possess technical skills but are interested in transitioning to a technical career.
make the change
It's no secret that the Great Resignation has employers sweating because it gives employees an upper hand. The competition for talent has never been greater. As the saying goes, “never let a good crisis go to waste”. If you have been contemplating a career in cybersecurity, there has never been a better time to make the career switch.
In the next installment of this series, we will explore what skills cybersecurity organizations are looking for in candidates and the type of cybersecurity training that will make you stand out. In the meantime, checkout our cybersecurity training offerings here.