Massive Demand for Cybersecurity Professionals in the U.S.

According to trade group CompTIA and Cyber Seek — a tech job-tracking database from the U.S. Commerce Department — there are over 465,000 vacancies for jobs in cybersecurity nationwide as of May 2021.

Experts say the need for more web-inclined professionals spans from private business to government agencies, with most of the job openings in Texas, California, Florida and Virginia. This means that there is no better time to switch careers and find work in cybersecurity than now.

‘You don’t have to be a graduate of MIT to work in cybersecurity,’ said Tim Herbert, Executive Vice President for Research at CompTIA. ‘It just requires someone who has the proper training, proper certification and is certainly committed to the work.’

According to Michelle Moore, teacher of cybersecurity operations at the University of San Diego, switching careers to cybersecurity is as easy as getting a Network+ or Security+ certification. A two-month online course could get someone an entry-level job like a ‘pen-tester’, a network security engineer or an incident response analyst. She added that those jobs pay between $60,000 to $90,000 a year.

‘Cybersecurity is not rocket science, but it’s not like you can just walk in the door and take a job and pick it up like that,’ Moore said. ‘But the biggest problem is that people aren’t able to fill those positions because they’re not finding enough people who are skilled.’

Another reason it is difficult to hire cybersecurity professionals is that college students majoring in computer science don’t always go into that field as a career, Herbert said. After graduation, the students mostly go for jobs in software development, artificial intelligence, robotics or data science and ‘a small percentage is going to select cybersecurity,’ Herbert said.

‘Cybersecurity is competing with many other fields’, he said. ‘And right now, we find that’s not enough to meet the demand.’

The large demand for cybersecurity professionals comes after organizations of all sizes witnessed the damage caused by recent hacking attacks. One of the biggest trends in cyberattacks right now is ransomware, a malware installed onto vulnerable networks and computers by hackers which threatens to publish private data unless a ransom is paid.

In the first half of 2019, hackers executed over 70 ransomware attacks, most of them targeted at local governments. In 2020, Barnes & Noble, Marriott and Twitter were victims of hacks where their customer’s personal information was exposed. School districts and their employees have also been targets of cyberattacks.

‘There are many hacking group that are opportunists,’ Herbert said. ‘They found companies that may have been in a more vulnerable state.’

Recently, a hacker increased the chemical levels at a water treatment plant in central Florida in an alleged attempt to poison local residents. Earlier in May, a cybergang took control of the computer systems of one of the nation’s largest underground fuel pathways. Colonials Pipelines, owner of the pathway, reportedly paid a ransom of $5 million to halt the hijacking.

By Marvellous Iwendi.

Source: CBS News