Demands for cyber security skills are outstripping supply, as written by Ben J Heyes as “The Long View of Cyber Security Careers”, re-pubished by Offer Australia.
Why volatility is a safe bet
Last week a research report undertaken by CEDA made the provocative claim that five million of the jobs Australians are employed in today won’t exist in 10-15 years, with many of those functions automated by computers.
Students contemplating their future aren’t as likely to stare down that statistic with the same trepidation as those mid-way through their career – I expect some will relish the opportunity to be the disruptive force! The takeaway, regardless, is that it pays to choose a career path that can stand the test of time.
I have the good fortune of working in cyber security – an area of technology that grows in importance with every new innovation released to market.
Cyber Security Skills Are In Demand
Today, demand for the skills pertinent to a career in cyber-security far outstrip supply. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the rate of growth for hiring of information security analysts is in the order of 36.5 per cent out to 2022. The UK Government’s National Audit Office reports that without significant intervention in exercises that attract and train the next generation of cyber security workers, demand will outstrip supply for the next 20 years. The Australian Government is also scrutinising the availability of cyber security skills as part of the Cyber Strategy Review.
Globally, these skills are in demand today because we haven’t been able to train enough cyber security professionals to meet the explosion in the use of digital technologies.
The acceleration of the mobile internet in particular has been profound. To illustrate: use of smartphones has grown to the point where more than 70 per cent of weekly logins to CommBank’s NetBank now come from mobile devices. More customers now choose to bank from a mobile phone or tablet than via any other channel. There has been a similar take-up of mobile services across media, retail and most other services sectors. There are more and more digital services, and infinitely more customers, for cyber-security professionals to protect.
Cyber Security Skills Demands Will Only Increase
It’s interesting to note that the demand for cyber security skills is forecast to be very strong for a considerably long time. The analysts looking closely at this issue expect a career in cyber security to offer some staying power.
I have several theories on why. One aspect of cyber that isn’t discussed nearly enough is its dynamism. I routinely open conversations about the cyber security landscape by talking about how innovative and collaborative our adversaries are, and what that requires in terms of a response. The online activities of organised crime, in particular, has evolved considerably in recent years. There is more than enough volumes in digital transactions today for these groups to invest in the active iteration of their malware to try to circumvent controls. The most sophisticated of these criminal groups modify their code routinely, in a tit-for-tat battle with those of us fighting the good fight.
So any notion that an adequate defence is some sort of wall that an organisation constructs – a ‘set and forget’ piece of technology – is well behind us now. Nothing is static. Today’s defences have to be as dynamic as our adversary, if not predictive.
It’s this aspect of the work that many of my team find most enjoyable. While we’re always working to automate routine tasks, over time we expect the nature of any given security analyst’s work to evolve month to month, sometimes daily.
Cyber Security Careers For Young Australians
“Change is the only constant”, Greek philosopher Heraclitus wrote. Those young Australians with the right mindset and technical competency can be confident of a long and intriguing career should they choose to work in cyber security.
While my team at Commonwealth Bank continues to seek out the most experienced cyber security professionals in the field, we are also working with the University sector to boost the number of young Australians attaining the relevant skills for a cyber career. We’re also looking to address gender inequality in cyber security – which will be the subject of my next post.