As the international marketplace and cyber infrastructure expand, so does severe threat to corporate data due to a growing number of cyber criminals. While governmental and private companies scramble to locate and employ well-qualified workers, the threats to large infrastructure databases continue to mount. IT professionals who specialize in this area can tell you that their skills are in great demand, and once on the job, the learning process is never ending.
In an attempt to respond to the growing need for impeccably trained cybersecurity professionals, institutions of higher learning, governmental agencies, and private companies are working together like never before to tailor training programs that close the “Cybersecurity Skills Gap” that now exists across all industries.
Unfortunately, cyber criminals are not bound by traditional borders. Therefore, the new generation of cybersecurity experts requires a more holistic and inter-disciplinary approach to the field. Data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics indicates extremely strong growth over the next decade in jobs for professionals seeking certificates and degrees in cybersecurity. For professionals interested in this field, a variety of training options exist.
While many cybersecurity certificate programs have been made available across the country in recent years, companies were finding that often graduates lacked the highly regarded critical thinking skills and professional experience to recognize and efficiently communicate threats with the immediacy needed to minimize impacts. As a result, colleges and universities, as well as companies like Booze Allen and Hamilton have invested significant resources in educational training programs that simulate real-world, real-time cyber attacks in a collaborative learning environment.
An interdisciplinary approach is now considered best practice, as is making the educational process as hands on as possible. Mentoring and interning has been emphasized in educational programs so that the curriculum is rooted in the practical quick thinking skills necessary to assess cyber threats. Through direct teamwork and a more integrated approach to the curriculum, colleges and universities offering cybersecurity certificate programs are meeting the needs of the industry by working together closely with business leaders and governmental agencies.
Continued collaboration, networking, ongoing resource sharing, and regular seminar attendance is required in this field as the information needed to do one’s job properly can literally change overnight. For professionals up to the challenge and with the drive to acquire and maintain proper knowledge and training, the rewards are great both in the sense of job satisfaction and in market value.
Worldwide industry reports indicate that thousands of skilled cybersecurity professionals are currently needed at all levels, from entry-level positions all the way up to executive positions, just to address the threats. Those offering degree and certificate programs in the cybersecurity field are working diligently to constantly update programs to address current threats. At the same time, in-house corporate trainings related to security issues remain a growing expenditure across all industries.
Aside from domestic opportunity, considerable travel is possible for professionals willing to develop the complex analytical skills alongside the burgeoning technical knowledge necessary to excel in this field. This is truly one of the most global careers available today, many students and IT professionals looking for a change are pursuing certification in this extremely important and rapidly growing field.
For currently employed professionals interested cybersecurity, it is a good idea to check with your HR representative for opportunities to engage in company sponsored trainings or certificate programs. Often a company would rather train a current employee who already knows the corporate culture and inherent vulnerabilities, than to bring in someone new to the company. Additional cybersecurity professional development may already exist where you are right now.
While it is troubling to consider the threat to infrastructure, citizen security, and sensitive data storage that currently exists due to the human capital crises in cybersecurity, it is also important to note the extreme opportunity this crises presents for professionals willing to accept the challenge. While international travel and higher salaries are possible, the most valued professionals will need to demonstrate the critical thinking skills, highly developed communication tools, technical acumen, and overall interdisciplinary approach needed to address the constantly changing threats to global cybersecurity. Through careful comparison, and choosing an education program from a top-tier and regionally accredited program, professionals will not only gain the knowledge necessary to excel in this field, while also exposing themselves to networking opportunities and the ongoing support necessary to secure a competitive edge long after the certificate or degree program is complete.