How to fix the widening cyber security skills gap

The cyber security skills gap has been widening for years – there are simply not enough trained professionals to meet organisations’ growing cyber security needs. As a result, the value of those with the requisite skills is inflated, but they are left in charge of understaffed and poorly equipped defence teams.

According to the latest figures, 68% of organisations acknowledge that demand for cyber security staff is high, and there is reportedly a 25 percentage point gap between availability and demand. What does that mean in absolute figures? The 2017 Global Information Security Workforce Study estimates that the skills gap will rise to 1.8 million by 2022, a 20% increase over 2015’s forecast.

According to the report, the most common reasons for worker shortage are:

  • Difficulty finding qualified personnel (49%)
  • Requirements not understood by leadership (42%)
  • Business conditions can’t support additional personnel (41%)
  • Security workers difficult to retain (31%)
  • No clear information security career path (31%)

It’s difficult to address all of these issues. Some of them are due to poor organisational management, and others are due to individuals’ reluctance to enter the field. The former needs to be addressed by organisations on a case-by-case basis; they’ll probably realise the need to prioritise cyber security when the growing threat of cyber attacks and data breaches catches up to them.

In the meantime, the cyber security industry needs experts to fill essential roles. This is an excellent opportunity for anyone thinking of changing careers. The cyber security industry offers generous salaries for those with the right qualifications and experience, and jobs usually come with a lot of responsibility and opportunities to develop new skills – both technical and managerial.

But where to begin? The industry is broad, with different positions suiting people with different skills. You’ll need to do some research to decide what interests you and which qualifications you’ll need to gain. You can get started by browsing our training course overview, which lists each cyber security sector, what it covers and the training courses you’ll need to complete.