TC Global Insights

Future of Work

Cyber Security Skills Gap – An Opportunity

COVID has redefined the way we live, radically changing the way we work, learn and socialize. And as we get used to living in a virtual world, we are also grappling with the challenges such an existence brings. Cyber security is one such challenge. From hackers trying to Zoombomb meetings, to trying to sell the Statue of Unity – the incidents of security breaches are rising and there’s a dire need to create safe ecosystems that enable a virtual living.

It’s no surprise then that hiring for cyber security professionals is on the rise – making it one of the few COVID-proof jobs.

India has had its fair share cyber security problems, being the second most cyber-attacked country in the world.  Between April 2017 and January 2018 alone, over 22,000 websites in India were hacked, which included 114 websites run by the government. One that caused a huge outcry was the (alleged) data breach in February 2019 faced by Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI), where Aadhaar details (name, addresses and Aadhaar numbers) of over 6.7 million users were leaked on Indane’s website.

But, the problem is a global one. Countries like the United States have also faced threats. In September 2017, EQUIFAX  had one of the worst cyberattacks, where personal information of 145 million users was compromised, which is nearly half of the US population. Since February, IBM X-Force has observed a 4,300 percent increase in Coronavirus-themed spam. According to World Economic Forum, cyberattacks are the second biggest risk for businesses across the globe (see chart).

And therein lies the opportunity

As risk rises, so does the requirement for cybersecurity professionals.

And there’s a huge skills gap here –  76% of cyber security leaders face skills shortage, as organisations struggle to find cyber security professionals. This gap is an indication of the career opportunities that can be explored in this field.

According to (ISC)2 Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2019, there are over 4 million unfilled vacancies in the (global) cybersecurity sector; the current cybersecurity workforce is estimated at 2.8 million professionals (and this was before COVID, so the gap would only have widened).

The Asia-Pacific region is reported to have the highest skill gaps which could be attributed to the increased use of web technologies in the region. Another obvious reason is the increase in cyber-threats, which has caused an increased demand of cybers security professionals. Asian countries like India, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam and China, to name a few, are among the few facing a skill gap in this field.

The US and the UK are also among the countries with a huge shortage in cybersecurity skills. The (current) cybersecurity workforce gap in the US is estimated at nearly 500,000. As per Cybersecurity Professionals, a job vacancy of 3.5 million is predicted in the UK by 2021 (again, a number that could now be a lot higher).

Source – cybersecurity-professionals.com

What do the work opportunities look like?

Cyber security professionals are faced with the unenviable and rather challenging task of protecting their organization’s critical assets (in their networks) from intruders, attackers or hackers.

The career paths include:

  • Exec/CXO
  • Chief Information Security Officer(CISO)
  • IT Director
  • IT Security Director
  • IT Manager
  • IT Security Manager
  • Security Architect/Engineer
  • Security Specialist
  • Security Consultant/Advisor
  • Security Analyst
  • Security/Compliance Officer
  • Security Administrator
  • IT Staff
  • Application Developer/Tester

From finding and protecting against the organisation’s cyber vulnerabilities, to determining how to best protect organisation’s data, these professionals will be dealing with the wide elements of cyber that includes:

  • Network security
  • Application security
  • Endpoint security
  • Data security
  • Identity management
  • Database and infrastructure security
  • Cloud security
  • Mobile security
  • Disaster recovery/business continuity planning
  • End-user education

Cyber security professionals are likely to have at least a bachelor’s degree. A majority of the professionals are found to hold degree in computer and information sciences (40%), while other professionals are found to have a degree in engineering (19%) and business (10%). Here’s a look at the education degree and age average of cyber security professionals.

Source ISC- Strategies for Building and Growing Strong Cybersecurity Teams

 

Cybersecurity professionals are usually well paid, with an average of U.S. $69,000 per year. Professionals who have security certifications seem to be better paid those without a certificate.

One of the first steps to becoming a cyber security professional is to get a Bachelor’s degree in cyber security or a related field. You also have the option for a certificate course in cyber security, which can be obtained offline and online from universities or institutions. Some organisations may require advanced degree (such as Master’s degree in Cyber security).

Here’s a look at a few globally ranked universities offering (on-campus) Bachelor’s degree in Cyber Security/ Computer Security.

University Duration Tuition Fee* (approx.)
(this is not inclusive of student fees, application fees and others that may be incurred)
Country
University of South Wales
BSc (Hons) Applied Cyber Security
3 years

Estimated at £13500 annually
(approx. ₹12,40,000)
The United Kingdom
Coventry University
BSc (Hons) Ethical Hacking and Cybersecurity
3 years Estimated at £16,400 annually
(approx. ₹15,06,000)
The United Kingdom
Leeds Beckett University
BSc (Hons) Computer Security
3 years Estimated at £12000 annually
(approx. ₹11,02,000)
The United Kingdom
Glasgow Caledonian University
BSc (Hons) Cyber Security and Networks
2-4 years Estimated at £12,250 annually
(approx. ₹11,25,000)
The United Kingdom
Northumbria University
BSc (Hons) Computer Networks and Cyber Security
3 years Estimated at £15,500 annually
(approx. ₹14,23,000)
The United Kingdom
La Trobe University
Bachelor of Cybersecurity
3 years Estimated at AUD$36,200 annually
(approx. ₹17,61,000)
Australia
Western Sydney University
Bachelor of Cyber Security and Behaviour
3 years Estimated at AUD$26,240 annually
(approx. ₹12,76,000)
Australia
York University
BA/BSc in Computer Security
3 years Estimated at CA$29,495.70 annually
(approx. ₹15,86,000)
Canada
Purdue University
BSc Cybersecurity
4 years Estimated at $31,366 annually
(approx. ₹23,80,000)
The United States

In case you are looking at options of a certificate or a diploma, we’ve listed out few details to help you get started. Most of these programmes are designed to teach the basic frameworks for those who are willing to take up cyber security as a profession, or would like to acquire more information in the area.

However, most certificate courses would require you to have completed a bachelor’s degree.

University/Institute Duration Fees/Tuition Fee* (approx.)
(this is not inclusive of student fees, application fees and others that may be incurred)
Country
The University of Adelaide
Graduate Certificate in Cyber Security (Secure Software)
6 months
(on campus)
Estimated at AUD$21,000 total course fee
(approx. ₹10,21,000)
Australia
Australian National University
Graduate Diploma of Cyber Security, Strategy and Risk Management
1 year
(on campus)
Estimated at AUD $45,600 total course fee
(approx. ₹22,18,000)
Australia
Stanford University
(professional course)
Stanford Advanced Computer Security Certificate
60 days, self-paced
(online)
Estimated at $495 per online course (total of 6 course)
(approx. ₹37,000)
The United States
University of Washington
Certificate in Cybersecurity
8 months
(on campus & online)
Estimated at $3999 total course fee
(approx. ₹3,34,000)
The United States
Harvard University
Cybersecurity Certificate
1.5 years or more
(online)
Estimated at $11,360 total course fee
(approx. ₹8,62,000)
The United States

Apart from these educational institutions, you can also up your IT/Computer Science skills through various trainings provided by organisations dealing in security. Some of them are:

  • Free Cyber security Training by FortiNet
  • Introduction to Cyber Security Specialization at Coursera
  • Professional Certificate in Essentials of Cybersecurity at edX
  • Cyber Security for Beginners by Heimdal Security
  • Fundamentals of cyber security by Sans Institute

A career in cyber security has never looked as promising as it does today. With people and organizations constantly worried about frauds and security breaches, this is a great field to get into. And, as we stated earlier, it’s one of the few recession-proof jobs that exist today – quite the opposite actually. COVID has increased the demand for cyber security professionals. You could add to filling that gap while making a great career move. The time is now.

Date added
21.05.2020

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Future of Work

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