Cultivating your expertise in privacy and security turns out to be more than a smart way to keep yourself safe. As cybercrime grows, so does the need for professionals who can protect companies and our personal data. According to experts in the field, cybersecurity is a growth industry with a significant shortage in qualified candidates for the positions.
Cybersecurity Opportunity by the Numbers
In an article for CSO, the firm Cybersecurity Ventures “estimates there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, up from 1 million openings last year.” Additionally, the US alone is “is on pace to hit a half-million or more unfilled cybersecurity positions by 2021.” The business case for hiring is clear. Cybercrime cost $3 trillion in 2015, and by 2021 that figure is expected to rise to $6 trillion.
Civic leaders are increasingly aware of the privacy and security challenges ahead, as well as the opportunities. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio recently unveiled a 10-year plan to create 10,000 jobs related to cybersecurity. According to the announcement about the “New York Works” plan, de Blasio sees the inevitable economic upside to responding to the future of cybercrime. As quoted in the piece, de Blasio says,
“We have to maximize the growth of the cybersecurity sector right now, right here, and not let it slip away, because those jobs are going to be developed somewhere.”
There’s a growing point of view which suggests all IT jobs are now cybersecurity jobs.
Major Gaps in Cybersecurity Knowledge
Gaps in cybersecurity knowledge are commonplace. Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center recently revealed “the wide variance in what the public knows about key cybersecurity issues and concepts and people’s habits when it comes to handling the passwords to their online accounts and their use of public Wi-Fi networks.”
While a majority of respondents to the survey reported personal experience with some form of cybercrime, the findings highlighted overconfidence in the level of protection, a slew of poor security and privacy practices, and only mild faith in institutions’ preparedness.
Those who clearly understand cyberthreats and best practices to protect privacy and data security will be best positioned to make a future for themselves in cybersecurity.
Your Education in Cybersecurity
If you want to invest in your future, you might consider starting up the path towards a cybersecurity education. The International Association of Privacy Professionals has an excellent resource page highlighting colleges with privacy curricula. Covering APAC, Canada, the EU and the US, the IAPP resource page details whether the schools offer distance learning, part-time, and extern/internship options, as well as whether prerequisites are required for the program.
And by the way: It’s never too young to begin a cybersecurity education. In fact, the GirlScouts of America is partnering with an internet security company to “to introduce a set of new badges to promote computer and internet literacy and cybersecurity.”
The only future we have to fear is one in which we don’t step up to educate ourselves and others about the value of privacy and cybersecurity. Today is a great day to invest in yourself for the sake of society at large.