The Surging Demand for Cyber Security Professionals to Continue
Change can be slow. In an organization, it may take weeks, months or years to implement a new process, as departments need the time to re-evaluate and adapt to new situations. But sometimes, everything changes in the blink of an eye. It happened during the telecom/internet boom of the late 1990s and the lockdown period of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For companies, this meant rapidly adapting to the new normal of remote work. They had to guide their employees through this transformation while maintaining an online presence for their consumers. The world’s dependence on online-based services highlighted the importance of cyber security.
During the pandemic, cybercrime increased by 600%. Everyone from Fortune 500 companies to small and medium-sized businesses experienced cyberattacks in the form of phishing (sending fake messages to obtain personal information) and ransomware (blocking access to a computer system until a ransom is paid). Financial services, banks, e-commerce websites and the healthcare sector were the most affected during this period.
While insurance may cover financial losses, it can’t reverse the brand damage and loss of public confidence that comes from a publicized cyberattack.
And so, there is an exponentially growing demand for skilled cyber security professionals.
Supply not meeting the demand
According to a 2022 (ISC)2 Cyber security Workforce Study, there is a worldwide gap of 3.4 million cyber security workers. Roles such as security engineers, cyber security analysts and cyber security engineers are in high demand. But they need skilled professionals who can mitigate the risks associated with adopting emerging tech while complying with regulatory requirements. The study states that over 60% of current cyber security professionals are focused on the potential risks of emerging technology (e.g., blockchain, AI, VR, quantum computing).
In the past, organizations have tried to either hire and train junior employees in cyber security or put too much on the plate of their existing cyber security team. This often resulted in burnout and curtailed careers.
But now, there’s a shift towards developing cyber security talent by hiring new graduates and training them to be part of in-house cyber security teams for the organization.
Not just for tech professionals
The Cyber security Workforce Study mentions that professionals in this field come from a variety of professional backgrounds including business, marketing, project management, design and law enforcement, among others. They bring their unique knowledge and innovation to the field.
This diverse skill set combined with a post-secondary cyber security program can empower any interested professional to enter this booming field. These programs can also equip professionals to pursue various cyber security certifications. This includes the globally-recognized CISSP certification from (ISC)² or the OSCP (Offensive Security) designation, which is gaining popularity as it focuses on anticipating and preparing for future cyberattacks.
Facing the new normal
Data breaches cost companies US$6 trillion in 2021 and this number is rising every year. It’s common knowledge that our physical and virtual lives are inextricably linked. But cyber security professionals can see ahead and persist through the volatility of the online landscape. They are the problem-solvers that we need today.
It’s no wonder that their stock is only set to grow as we settle deeper into this new normal.
If you’re looking to upskill in this thriving field, the York University School of Continuing Studies offers a suite of part-time, full-time and intensive cyber security programs. Our programs feature leading cyber security expert instructors, experiential learning methods and are designed with working professionals in mind, so you can pursue your ambitions on a schedule that works for you. Learn more at continue.yorku.ca/cyber-security.