AUTHOR: Jen Coxall

The need for cyber security professionals isn’t going to slow down anytime soon and this is continuing to create an all too real shortage of certified professionals in the cyber security industry.

This is a problem that is hitting all industries, world-wide as the threats from cyber security criminals are continuing to grow. The criminals are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their attacks and using their resources more and more to gain access to businesses sensitive and confidential data.

This is causing the demand for cyber security specialists to sky rocket at such a rate that the skills gap has now reached crisis level. Research has found that an estimated 3.5 million global cyber security jobs remaining open by 2021. In addition to that staggering figure, Indeed have revealed that employer demand exceeded candidate interest by more than 3 times. Let’s explore the reasons why and what can be done.


What does ‘skills gap’ refer to?

You’ve likely seen us refer to a skills gap across various tech disciplines recently, but what does it really mean? A skills gap can occur in any industry that is growing at a pace in which the workforce can’t match its growth speed. A skills gap is defined by the difference between what employers want or need to fulfill a position in their business, and the skills the current workforce has to offer.

 

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How can we bridge the cyber security skills gap?

Hard and soft skills go hand in hand when it comes to starting a career in the tech industry. The skills needed for cyber security roles are indeed technical, but transferable traits are proving to be equally as important to employers in this sector. Having both the hard and soft skills for cyber security and the tech industry as a whole is often forgotten and not information that’s shared enough. We want to change that.

A survey conducted by Tripwire confirms that statement with 315 IT security professionals agreeing that, aside from the technical cyber security skills, businesses are also looking for people who are skilled at analytical thinking, communication and troubleshooting to fulfill spaces in the sector.

Each participant in the survey also agreed that soft skills are important when hiring for security teams. The top 5 soft skills included:

  1. Analytical thinking - 65%
  2. Good communication - 60%
  3. Troubleshooting - 59%
  4. Strong integrity and ethical behaviour - 58%
  5. Ability to work under pressure - 58%

“The cybersecurity industry should not overlook the soft skills that are needed to build a strong security program.”

Tim Erlin, vice president of product management and strategy at Tripwire.


If you have some or all of the soft skills listed above, but didn’t know you could translate them into a career in cyber security, you’re not alone. Cyber security and the tech industry can be intimidating to people on the outside wanting to get in, and it’s easy to conclude that it’s an industry fit only for the technically skilled.

 

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That’s a dangerous misconception and one that’s hindering people from starting their career journeys into cyber security. In addition, it’s commonly mistaken that you can only work in tech if you’re well versed in both science and maths, which isn’t the case and is a further reason that’s halting people’s pursuits into the industry.

In order to continue tackling both the soft and the hard skills gap, we have an exclusive partnership with EC-Council. They are the world's leading provider in security certifications since the launch of the flagship qualification, Certified Ethical Hacker. Their courses will give you all the hard skills you need to build a fruitful career in cyber security, with our career consultants and StudentCare teams giving you the confidence and motivation necessary.

This partnership enables us to continue our mission towards allowing more and more people to fulfil their career dreams, which in turn will supplement the cyber security industry with the qualified, career ready individuals.

 

What can you do?

An interest in cyber security could turn into the thriving career you want and need. Industry wide, cyber security professionals are in high demand to enter businesses armed with the tools and knowledge to keep threats at bay and information secure.

If you want to get in on the action, our career consultants are available to have a free, impartial chat with you about your future in cyber security and how we can help you get career ready.

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