A cybersecurity degree: Opening a network of opportunities

You’ve heard cybersecurity is a growing field. But what does that mean and where are the opportunities?  

According to Cyberseek.org, there are currently more than 310,000 job openings in cybersecurity in the U.S. With 715,000 people employed in cybersecurity today, that means we’ll need to increase the current workforce by nearly 50% to meet the needs of today’s market demand. Not to mention future needs as the field continues to grow. In the state of Michigan alone, there are roughly 7,000 jobs currently open in cybersecurity. The job opportunities are out there and the need for this type of talent isn’t going away anytime soon.

Everyone has some idea of what cybersecurity is, but the truth is that in many ways this is just the most recent term for what used to be computer security and information assurance. But it also encompasses so much more. Among many others, job titles for the openings in Michigan include:

  • Cyber Security Analyst
  • Network Engineer
  • Penetration Tester
  • Systems Engineer

The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), a workforce framework that was developed by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), identifies multiple categories of cybersecurity workers, each with more specific job tasks.  These categories (and some of the tasks) are identified as follows:

  • Analyze – Threat Analysis
  • Collect and Operate – Cyber Operations
  • Investigate – Digital Forensics
  • Operate and Maintain – Network Services
  • Oversee and Govern – Cybersecurity Management, Strategic Planning and Policy
  • Protect and Defend – Incident Response, Vulnerability Assessment and Management
  • Securely Provision – Software Development, Systems Development

Now looking more closely at the cybersecurity job openings in Michigan, 4,600 fit in the category of Operate & Maintain, 4,200 fit into Securely Provision and almost 3,000 fit into Protect & Defend (some openings can fit into multiple categories).

So, are there jobs in cybersecurity for anyone? 

With the breadth of the skills that are needed throughout the NICE framework, there is a cybersecurity job for nearly anyone’s interests. Whether you like hands-on (network services), problem-solving (software development), teamwork (cybersecurity management) or investigation (digital forensics, vulnerability assessment), there is a place and position for you.

What about the future? 

This is perhaps the most exciting part. While we’ve gone through cycles of integrating telephones, wifi and cameras into our networks, the current development of the Internet of Things has added a variety of new devices, new uses and, of course, new users. This creates an even greater need for cybersecurity workers because not only do we need to secure our current technology, but we need to begin preparing to secure future technology.

This isn’t the time to question whether there’s a cybersecurity job for you, it’s when are you ready to get started?

 

*Note: cyberseek.org is a project supported by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE), CompTIA, and Burning Glass.

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