IT Security Jobs — High Demand, Low Supply

Every year, a new study is released revealing the top jobs currently trending worldwide and, particularly, where the technology job markets are headed.  Unfortunately, in the past couple of years, one alarming trend has emerged from all of this.  Currently, there is a huge demand for IT security experts to fill jobs on a global scale.  However, there are not enough of these experts to fill the void.

One recent study found that cybersecurity jobs are growing 3.5 times as fast as other similar tech jobs and over 12 times faster than other non-tech related jobs.  This is the current growth industry of the cyber-world field.  Although increases in defense spending accounted for some of the growth in certain areas, this has not been the case for all as many companies are bringing in security experts to protect their companies and interests from cyber-criminals.

One of the reasons for such a growth in this area has been the recent spate of high profile hacks from cyber-criminals.  Attacks on the Department of Revenue in South Carolina, Nissan, Zappos, Coke, and Wal-mart are just a few of the big cases in the last year alone.  Even when customer security or information is not compromised, the company can still be at risk.  A great case in point is the recent hacking of Burger King’s Twitter account which was hacked to appear as if they were giving up and admitting defeat to rival fast food chain McDonalds.  This type of occurrence may not lose data or credit card numbers, but it still represents a public relations nightmare for the company.

So what exactly is behind the shortage in IT security experts?  One of the major problems is that many schools in the United States are not properly training computer analysts in this field.  Instead, they are having to seek training from outside sources.  This means going to certification companies to gain the training and expertise necessary to develop “white hat hacking skills” which will benefit them in reverse engineering attacks on their company’s websites.

As with any popularity explosion in a job field, there are upsides and downsides.  On the one hand, many of those in the field find themselves working longer hours to overcome the demand placed on them by the dearth of trained experts.  Those who are already trained have to compensate for this shortage.  However, on the other hand, salaries have grown steadily in this field, outpacing many similar technology-based jobs with an average annual salary of almost $100,000 annually.  (That’s more than $12,000 than other comparable jobs in computer related fields.)  With this in mind, it is easy to see why cyber-security analysts are, for the foreseeable future, the job of choice in the computer industry.

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