In November 2014, the United Nations Organization (UNO) declared 15th July as World Youth Skills Day. The purpose is to promote greater awareness regarding the importance of technical and vocational education as well as to train and develop requisite skills amongst youth globally. With the global unemployment issue assuming serious proportions, this day becomes a great background for parents, school and college authorities as well as career counsellors to take concrete steps towards empowering our youth by helping them:
- Develop industry-specific skills
- Make wise career choices; those that will stand them in good stead in the years to come.
Thanks to the internet, we now have greater awareness about different job openings all across the globe. Unfortunately, there are educated graduates who are unemployed or underemployed as they lack the right skills required for the jobs that for which there are vacancies. It is thus advantageous to explore the job arena before deciding on a career. One job sector expected to clock a huge rate of growth is that of cybersecurity.
When we talk about cybersecurity, the first thing that might come to mind is, “Ah! Antivirus!” But as all of you, my regular readers, know, it is more than that. Cybersecurity helps sanitize our virtual environment and secure our online activities and stored data. India has the second largest population globally for individuals connected to the internet, and as a mobile first economy, the need for securing our data as well as resources is becoming extremely vital. Additionally, with the Internet of Things (IoT) becoming a household reality, there will be more inter-connected devices (devices that talk to each other), posing greater security challenges ahead.
With cyber criminals becoming more skilled, the security challenges are constantly evolving and changing, calling for constant vigilance and staying a step ahead of the criminals. Reputed security firms are engaged in 24/7 monitoring of threats and often collaborate within the industry to offer a secure surfing environment to the users.
Now you would like to know a little more about the scope, right? The future calls for higher security as we enter an era of connected devices. There have already been several cases where cyberattacks have compromised credit card details of users, ATMs, cars with computerized controls and more. The obvious need is for more advanced programs, stringent monitoring and strategies. And this is where cybersecurity professionals come in.
What are the future possibilities in this field? A NASSCOM task force estimated that the global IT security market is set to grow at over 8% annually. Specifically, it will create an employment opportunity for about a million Indians by 2025. Another key report which helps us understand the industry scenario is Hacking the Skills Shortage: A study of the international shortage in cybersecurity skills. This informative report by McAfee, in partnership with the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), reveals that 82 Percent of IT Professionals Confirm Shortfall in Cybersecurity Workforce. It also states that the “premium” pay earned by cybersecurity professionals is 2.7 times average professional pay.
This is what, Chris Young – SVP and GM, McAfee, has to say about the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals: “In the US alone there are about 200,000 unfilled positions, and by the year 2020, the global cyber security talent shortage is expected to reach two million.”
If we consider a shortfall in information security professionals, it is of great concern for it exposes individuals, corporations and governments to all kinds of cyber-attacks. Can you just imagine the huge job potential for all those who develop their programming and become ethical hackers with great programming and coding skills? Some more bytes to help you decide: Internet of Things (IoT) devices are expected to go up from 15 billion to 200 billion by 2020 and the focus of the cyberattacks will be more on gaining access to critical capabilities. The importance of the (Chief Security Officer) CSO is also increasing in all established companies as they embark on various digitization initiatives. The support from our government as well as initiatives like Digital India will only augment the need for skilled cybersecurity professionals who can ensure that technology can securely drive business growth. And we look to our tweens and teens to fulfill this future requirement. This is the right time and right field for them. They already are digital natives and understand the need for cybersecurity so help them develop their interests and opt for the right courses. Our youth and the world will both stand to gain.
So what do you do, when your teen comes to you and says, “Mom/ Dad, I can’t decide what I want to do after +2”? Initiate a discussion on the predicted growth in the cybersecurity sector. Take the effort to understand if the young man/woman has a preference or aptitude for technology and programming as this can become quite critical to their success as a skilled cybersecurity professional. If yes on both counts, then all you need to do is direct them on to the right path.
I hope I have been able to clear all your doubts and convince you why we need more cybersecurity professionals?
All the best to all the young netizens everywhere! Join the tribe of skilled cyber security professionals and remember to help spread awareness on cybersafety wherever you go!!