There are few people in today’s developed world that don’t wonder whether their job will still be around in the future. And as many traditional industries—from finance to law to medicine to journalism—become increasingly competitive, Cybersecurity has remained uniquely robust and well-positioned to offer opportunities for jobs, growth, and security going into the new decade. Job growth for security analysts is expected to grow 31 percent from now till 2029, which is much faster than the average for all occupations. Much of the high demand stems from the need to create innovative solutions to prevent the rise of cybercrime.

Since the onset of the pandemic, the FBI reported a 300 percent rise in reported cybercrimes. Hackers leveraged the opportunity to attack vulnerable networks as office work moved to personal homes. The cyberattacks sprouted up in many forms, from phishing attacks, malicious malware, to data breaches, and other. In the U.S alone, the average data breach in 2020 cost $8.64M, with government, retail, technology, finance, and healthcare sectors hit hardest, solely because of the high level of personal identifying information contained in their records.

This is particularly alarming when one considers the fact that more than 77% of organizations do not have a Cyber Security Incident Response plan, while an estimated 54 percent of companies say they have experienced one or more attacks in the past year.

The cybersecurity industry experienced tremendous growth well before the pandemic, and that growth became exponential in early 2020. On one hand, the fact that there are far too many cyber attacks that need to be countered is worrisome. On the other hand, the high demand for security presents promising news for anyone who is looking to secure a role in cybersecurity.

The futureproof sector that welcomes one and all

There are boundless career opportunities available in cybersecurity, and each of the positions are far more stable compared to most other positions in tech. This is evident in the industry’s unemployment rate of 0 percent, which has been held since 2011. The number of unfilled cyber positions now stands at 4.07 million professionals, up from 2.93 million this time last year, due to the major cybersecurity skills gap in the workforce. This includes 561,000 in North America and a staggering 2.6 million shortfall in APAC. The numbers peaked in 2020, as the pandemic ended up triggering a hiring spree in cybersecurity, due to the rapid increase of the remote workforce.

And who will fill these positions?

With relevant training, many people can, even without previous experience in IT, as there are plenty of cyber positions available that tap into a multitude of transferable skill sets. Entry level positions in cybersecurity pay exceptionally well. The average advertised salary for a cybersecurity job is now $93,540. That’s a full 16 percent — or about $13,000 — more than the average for all IT jobs. Entry level jobs for cybersecurity professionals include IT Technician, Network Engineer, Information Security Analyst, Junior Penetration Tester, and Systems Administrator. These are amongst many positions that desperately need to be filled, as the current global workforce in cybersecurity is only 2.93 million, including 289,000 in the UK and 805,000 in the US.

How to fill the cyber skills shortage and employment gap

During the next five years, cybercrime might become the greatest threat to every person, place, and thing in the world. With evolving technology comes evolving hackers, and cyber education is the best defense and solution that will help reskill the workforce and upskill the industry. Basic cybersecurity awareness training misses the mark, because it rarely addresses the skill and application of that knowledge. A business should focus on not only cybersecurity training in genera,l but the right cybersecurity dangers to look for. All employees should be able to identify and avoid suspicious links and, since phishing attempts are on the rise, evade hacking attempts.

The most efficient and impactful way to prepare prospective cyber professionals at a faster rate is through cybersecurity bootcamps, which blend both the hands-on learning of a vocational school and the accelerated speed of an online school to make students workforce ready in a matter of months. Bootcamps work because they offer in-demand skills development, real-world based simulations, and an accelerated track to entry-level employment. After all, the traditional four-year education system is not fast enough to ready future cybersecurity professionals to enter the workforce, much less fill the ever-growing gap. Bootcamps, unlike four-year degrees, take anywhere from 3-6 months to complete, and are far more affordable than the average tuition costs for higher education. They are the concrete solution to the cybersecurity job crisis.

Cybersecurity has been crucial for as long as people have used the Internet. Due to the surge in illegal online activities, the pandemic changed the way cybersecurity is being viewed and handled, birthing a larger labor landscape for cybersecurity skills and jobs. Now is the time for individuals, businesses, and educational institutions to tackle the skills and workforce shortage in cybersecurity, for a safer digital world.

Written by By Roy Zur, Founder and CEO of Cybint