Why cybersecurity is the career of the future

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Cybercrime is a booming business. In fact, recent figures by website Cybersecurity Ventures (among many) reveal that cybercrime could cost companies $6 trillion over next five years as more businesses rely on complex internet-enabled business models without the adequate security to protect their digital assets.

Never before has the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals been so high. However, the reality is that the industry currently faces a skills gap of around three million people.

This National Careers Week, taking place the 4th – 9th March, we address the gap and look at why choosing a career in cybersecurity might be one of the most promising paths to follow.
Addressing the gap
As our dependency on all things tech has boomed, so too have the number of global cyber-attacks. Law firm Linklaters found that  the figure has increased 63% between 2016 and 2018. However, despite this growth, over six in ten businesses (63%) say they lack the cybersecurity skills they need to protect themselves from potential threats. 

As the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital technologies continue to permeate our everyday lives, people with cybersecurity skills will be critical to the protection of devices and the sensitive data they hold and produce. Building awareness and encouraging young people to consider their opportunities in the field is fundamental to building a national cybersecurity workforce that can protect society.

Without this, threats to businesses will continue to rise with damaging consequences for people’s livelihoods and the economy. And it isn’t just about protecting businesses, a cyber-attack on a nation’s critical infrastructure, such as its power grid or healthcare sectors, could have devastating consequences. To protect people around the world, we need to encourage young people to consider a career in cybersecurity and the difference they can make.

Breaking down barriers
So why is there this gap? There are a number of reasons; some young people may be intimidated by what can seem like a complex industry to enter, and others may simply be unaware of the opportunities on offer.

The lack of a traditional pathway into the industry is also a problem. There are currently too few mentors to look to in order to see how they did it. But this can be remedied by launching specific cybersecurity focused opportunities within companies.

We also have to encourage more women to get into the industry. We need to remove the stigma that STEM careers are for men by encouraging more female tech and security professionals to speak at events, visit schools and universities, and champion their experiences to other young women. With the right role models, more girls can see that these careers are just as open to them as any male.
And once you’re in, a career in cybersecurity has it all – an altruistic motive, a lucrative salary and the chance to work across the globe.

At ESET, our researchers work as part of a global community on the most cutting-edge projects, including working with Google to halt dangerous malware and partnering with the FBI to take down malware families. ESET researchers were even responsible for discovering Industroyer, the malware responsible for the 2017 energy outage in the Ukraine. 

So, opportunity is in abundance, but what it is really lacking is awareness. This is why National Careers Week and programs such as the NCSC’s Cyber First, are so important. Running and supporting programs such as these helps to build awareness, knowledge and connections between today’s security professionals and tomorrow’s leaders. The industry and its workforce must do more to champion and support these programs in order to create a better, safer future.