Why 2020 will need more cybersecurity professionals

13 Dec 2019

Image: © andranik123/Stock.adobe.com

Recruitment site Cybersecurity Professionals has created an infographic with insight into the massive cybersecurity skills gap in the UK.

Ever since the dawn of the digital age, cybercrime has been on the rise. And as technology continues to rapidly advance, the tools available to hackers become more sophisticated.

It’s a concern for many internet users and, as we move into a new decade, we may be facing “broader societal implications than ever before”, according to Forrester’s Jeff Pollard.

So, reinforcing our defences against cyberattacks of the future is a priority. But a potential roadblock is the skills gap that the professional cybersecurity field is experiencing at the moment.

Predictions for 2021

According to research from Cybersecurity Ventures, it is predicted that there will be 3.5m unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by 2021.

In a recent article, recruitment platform Cybersecurity Professionals said that’s due to the massive demand for unique and specialist skills and “the inability of the market to continually master new technologies at the same speed as vulnerabilities are discovered”.

And that only becomes more of an issue as the arms race among companies for the latest tech presses on.

“Many companies are eager to revolutionise their workplaces with the latest cutting-edge products without considering the significant security measures that need to be taken to secure them,” the article added.

The problem with on-the-job learning

The infosec field has some other quirks that can stunt the journey towards narrowing the skills gap. Nuance and experience are critical for navigating threats and, coupled with the fact that “only a handful of higher education institutions” offer dedicated courses, cybersecurity recruiters and employers are struggling to fill positions.

“For those with an interest in cybersecurity, most of the experience needed to fill highly specialised roles is gained in employment,” the article continued.

“The disconnect between education and market need can be clearly seen in the fact that 53pc of organisations are not confident in their ability to conduct penetration testing, while only one course listed on UCAS mentions penetration testing in the course outline.”

The cybersecurity ‘boys’ club’

It also cited the problem posed by the tech-wide “boys’ club”, adding that just 16pc of cybersecurity students in the UK graduating in 2017 were women.

This will need to be overcome, the company advised, if the “much-needed gaps”, which are “only set to widen”, are to be closed.

The company has published an infographic with details of the cybersecurity skills gap in the UK. Check it out below or click here to view a larger image.

Infographic detailing the cybersecurity skills gap in the UK.

Cybersecurity skills gap in the UK. Image: Cybersecurity Professionals

Updated, 11.05am, 19 March 2020: This article was amended to include reference to research by Cybersecurity Ventures.

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Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021