Few fields offer as much opportunity as cybersecurity. Organizations in almost every sector are ratcheting up their digital defenses in an effort to address the growing online threats. Hackers have orchestrated more than 1,100 large-scale breaches and exposed an estimated 171 million sensitive files thus far this year, according to research from the Identity Theft Resource Center. These figures already far eclipse the breach statistics recorded in 2016, suggesting intensified effort among the countless external actors searching for corporate secrets or sellable customer or employee information.
Navigating choppy recruitment waters
Unfortunately, the many businesses attempting to ramp up their data security are encountering recruitment difficulties, as there are simply not enough talented information technology workers with the requisite skills to fill all of the open positions. Analysts at Cybersecurity Ventures predict there will be a gap of 3.5 million corporate data security roles by 2021, CRN reported. An influx of new talent is required. However, most internal human resources departments focus on finding candidates with four-year computer science degrees and other traditional credentials, dooming themselves to scouring a quickly dwindling talent pool.
Searching for a viable solution
Business leaders and hiring consultants watching this situation unfold from the outside believe enterprises should abandon this restrictive strategy and recruit individuals from nontraditional backgrounds, Harvard Business Review reported. Why? These candidates can easily build up the required skills via certification and training programs while bringing unique outlooks into the IT departments and possibly galvanizing new digital defensive efforts. Hybrid contributors like these truly embody the holistic cybersecurity perspective every modern firm should embrace, as infrastructure protection efforts must involve professionals in every division to make an impact.
Recent research from MWR Infosecurity echoed these sentiments. The organization surveyed 200 top-level IT professionals, asking them to the required data security skills and credentials by importance. Nearly half of respondents ranked curiosity first. None listed a computer science degree as essential.
As National Cyber Security Month draws to a close, professionals of all stripes should consider entering the field. The opportunities are numerous and passion is the only requirement.