If you want job security and a decent salary, cybersecurity might be a field worth looking into – but be prepared to work hard.
Right now, there are hundreds of thousands of unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S., and according to the 2015 Global Information Security Workforce Study, there will be over 1.5 million open positions in the field by 2020.
In the Greater Boston area alone, there are currently over 1,000 open cybersecurity jobs listed on employment website Monster.
With an average salary of $108,522 for cybersecurity analysts in New England, you might wonder why we’re facing such a shortage in this high-paying sector. As a 2015 Burning Glass jobs report points out, however, while the skills for some IT positions can be acquired with relatively little training, cybersecurity is not one of them.
Burning Glass, which delivers job market analytics to employers and workers, reports that cybersecurity positions are 35 percent more likely to require industry certification than other IT jobs, and often demand “hybrid workers,’’ employees with multiple skills across sectors like finance, healthcare, and manufacturing and defense, in addition to traditional networking and IT experience. Since many schools don’t teach IT and finance together, this can create a skills gap for employees.
And if a worker does want to get certified, Burning Glass says that five years of experience are required just to apply to take the rigorous exam for Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP) certification.
Yet another factor that can impact getting a job in cybersecurity is security clearance, which is required for about 11 percent of jobs in the field.
Story continues after gallery.
Careers most likely to add jobs by 2019:
With a growing number of organizations getting hacked, the need for cybersecurity will probably continue to increase in the near future, making it a pretty good time to work in computer science and Internet security. Not only can employees be more selective, but they can also demand higher pay, better working conditions, and look forward to sustained job security. In fact, employees in cybersecurity make about 9 percent more than others in IT, and Massachusetts is among the top 10 states with the most job postings.
To fill the shortage, universities and corporations are coming up with new ways to train employees.
Technology and consulting firm IBM, for example, has partnered with over 300 universities around the world, giving students free access to its security software in hopes of connecting to some future employees.
“The challenge we have is not only do we need the technical talent, but we need the pipeline of students coming out of universities,’’ Caleb Barlow, IBM’s vice president of mobile management and security, told CNBC.