As increasing numbers of services and businesses leverage the web and IoT, there are more opportunities for cybercrime. For instance, in the past five years most banks have created apps to give customers access to their secure accounts- not only online, but on their mobile phones. As a result, cyber criminals have new opportunities to gain illegal access to people’s bank accounts. This is why cybersecurity is an essential and growing need. It also makes the shortage of cybersecurity professionals a crisis.

The State of Cybersecurity Today

A study has shown that there is a gap in the cybersecurity field- with about 3 million cybersecurity jobs globally left unfilled. It is projected at this rate that there will be 3.5 million left unfilled by 2021. One of the challenges is that companies are posting cybersecurity job listings that there are simply not enough people qualified for- yet the roles are vital. Since cybersecurity is a new and rapidly evolving field, companies are also having difficulties supporting cybersecurity staff in their professional development. Web experts suggest 2019 is bound to have a new wave of cyberattacks, making this an alarming gap.

Why The Cybersecurity Shortage Exists

One of the reasons the cybersecurity industry is in crisis is because the field is relatively new. This means formal training for cybersecurity has not been offered for very long. In fact, very few IT professionals over the age of 30 had access to cybersecurity degrees while in school. Universities offering training, certifications, and education in cybersecurity have also been notably poor at marketing their programs, perpetuating a stigma that IT jobs are unexciting, unfulfilling, and undercompensated.

Potential Solutions to Improve the Cybersecurity Industry Shortage

Several solutions have been proposed to help reduce the shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals. An obvious solution is to make cybersecurity training more plentiful and accessible.

Fortinet CEO Ken Xie specifically suggests:

  • Creating hands-on learning experiences in cybersecurity for IT professionals, including certifications helping professionals advance from their current level in IT to cybersecurity specialty.
  • Garnering more support for college, universities, and other institutions to be able to offer formal degrees and training more regularly. Sponsored labs, for example, could make degree programs easier to implement.
  • AI, machine learning, and other technological developments need to integrate into cybersecurity more to support the human talent needed in the industry.
  • Military personnel are exposed to the latest technology and should be leveraged as the next wave of cybersecurity specialists.

Another solution, which is currently being implemented, is for the government to get more involved in cybersecurity. New updates to the National Cyber Strategy are aimed at warding off would-be attackers with more laws and seeking new ways to support and encourage growth in the cybersecurity industry.

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