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Bridging the Cybersecurity Skills Gap – Building Success for the Future

The Cybersecurity Skills Gap

An unfortunate phenomenon which has been around as long as the cybersecurity industry itself is a major gap between the number of cybersecurity jobs and the high quality, skilled candidates needed to fill them. As time continues, this gap appears to be widening more and more for two major reasons; firstly, people are not studying STEM fields which properly prepare them for positions in the cybersecurity industry. Secondly, companies are finally coming around to realize the fact that cybersecurity is just as paramount to their success as human resources, marketing, or accounting.

Emphasis on Education

STEM Education consists of curriculum focused on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. These areas of study help to mold the great technical minds of the future acting as a pipeline for a multitude of industries, one of which, is cybersecurity. These STEM students gain the necessary foundation to pique their interest in and prepare them for a future in cybersecurity.

Though STEM curricula can intrigue a young person in pursuing a career in the cybersecurity world, education in those four fields alone cannot adequately qualify an individual to become a cyber professional. From here, those who are interested in a career in cybersecurity need to find the route of training they would like to follow. Many colleges and universities offer degrees in cybersecurity and other cyber-related fields, however, this is not always a viable or realistic option for everyone. Technical Institutes and community colleges also provide courses to help prepare future professionals with some of the most important tools for a solid foundation in cybersecurity. Yet another alternate path is getting the hands on experience and training through a company. While there is a deficit of folks pursuing cybersecurity via any of these avenues, another hurdle, even for those that are qualified is a lack of companies realizing that cybersecurity is incredibly important to their business.

Skill Set Definition: Overlaps & Differences

Seven out of 10 of those organizations surveyed report that they believe their company as been affected by the cybersecurity skills shortages which is hurting industries across the globe. Many companies are also just now realizing that cybersecurity is just as important as the other departments which are staples at a company.

In many cases, this department should have similar traits to the other integral departments of a business like the necessary soft skills such as strong communication and listening skills. However, there should also be a clear differentiation between which hard, technical skills fall under cybersecurity and those of other departments at a company. The cybersecurity professionals at a company are just that, professionals specializing in the protection of the company’s various networks and databases.

Companies Should Invest in their Cybersecurity Teams

The cybersecurity team at a company is the front line of defense to the company’s all-important online world — protecting precious company data, customer information, and websites. Because of this, companies need to prioritize their cybersecurity staff. This includes investing in high-quality skills trainings for these employees, prioritizing the hiring of those individuals who not only know about cybersecurity in theory, but have the ability and know-how to detect incoming threats and how to defend against them, and compensating these employees properly for the level of work they provide to the company. These folks protect against a myriad of threats coming from both inside and outside the company. The business that invests in its cybersecurity staff now, particularly by defining clear and attractive career paths, will thrive in the years to come and pull itself out of the cybersecurity skills gap.

Image by katemangostar for Freepik.