As unemployment around the globe continues to climb, the number of people looking to enter the cybersecurity profession in the weeks and months ahead is likely to increase substantially. In times of great uncertainty, there will always be a marked shift to professions people believe are more recession-resistant. College students, as well as existing IT professionals, are all going to be boning up on cybersecurity.
That’s not surprising given that there have been 261,545 cybersecurity jobs posted on LinkedIn alone in the past 30 days. A breakdown of those job listings provided by CyberVista, a provider of online cybersecurity training, categorizes those job posting as follows:
- IT and Services: 103,001
- Financial Services: 67,473
- Computer Software: 66,341
- Defense and Space: 49,708
- Hospital and Health Care: 49,483
The CyberVista analysis notes the number of cybersecurity job openings in regions such as California (+0.6%) remain relatively unaffected. Job openings in San Francisco rose by +0.7 percent, and in San Jose they were only down -0.1 percent. In comparison, the Washington state region saw a decline of 3.7 percent, while New York state fell 2.5 percent
There was not enough cybersecurity expertise available prior to the current economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. Cybersecurity job openings in the private sector before the pandemic were listed at 471,028 total vacancies in the United States. As of April 8, 2020, CyberVista estimates there are currently more than 10,000 open jobs for security operations center (SOC) analysts and more than 17,000 job postings for cyber-enabled network administrators posted on LinkedIn and Indeed.
Clearly, demand for cybersecurity expertise has remained surprisingly resilient. A survey of over 1,000 business decision-makers in the UK, U.S., France, and Germany conducted by Barracuda Networks finds half of respondents (50%) would even consider making workforce reductions if it meant company data protection and security could be properly funded.
Expanding the pool of potential hires
Of course, where cybersecurity jobs may be physically located is likely to change. In the wake of the pandemic, more organizations plan to have a much larger percentage of their employees working remotely. Cybersecurity is a job that lends itself easily to remote work. This is especially true as cybersecurity management platforms increasingly shift to the cloud. There’s not much of a reason for a cybersecurity analyst to reside in the same area as the organization that hires them. The truth is relying on remote workers may prove to be a boon for all concerned as it expands the available pool of cybersecurity job candidates, with many enjoying a lower cost of living in, for example, the Midwest than they could afford in New York or San Francisco. Some businesses figured this out a long time ago. Now the bulk of organizations are preparing to follow suit.
Not every cybersecurity professional, of course, is of equal merit in terms of skills. Cybersecurity professionals that have recently completed online courses may not have as deep an understanding of cybersecurity nuances as some of their more-established colleagues. In fact, competition for experienced cybersecurity professionals is likely to become even more intense. Organizations operating in vertical industries such as the travel sector may not have the financial resources to retain cybersecurity experts when organizations in other sectors try to woo them away.
Whatever the future holds for the overall economy, it’s apparent having cybersecurity expertise continues to have its advantages.
Mike Vizard has covered IT for more than 25 years and has edited or contributed to a number of tech publications including InfoWorld, eWeek, CRN, Baseline, ComputerWorld, TMCNet, and Digital Review. He currently blogs for IT Business Edge and contributes to CIOinsight, The Channel Insider, Programmableweb, and Slashdot. Mike also blogs about emerging cloud technology for SmarterMSP.