To close the skills gap, organisations and academic institutions must take proactive measures. One of the most promising ways to do this is by starting from the ground up and adding cybersecurity curriculums to schools and opening learning institutions dedicated to teaching this trade.
The cybersecurity field has a zero percent unemployment rate and offers competitive compensation – two features that make it a desirable option for students entering college. Children should be introduced to the field as early as high school, and have ample opportunities for gaining knowledge and basic skills throughout primary and higher education. In some instances, entire institutions are being devoted to cybersecurity, such as the National College of Cybersecurity opening in the UK.
Organisations can also be proactive in promoting cybersecurity programme on campuses by hosting career talks and attending career fairs. Additionally, they can leverage programme to give students hands-on training in the field. Gaining such experience early on is crucial, as 52 percent of organisations say practical, hands-on experience is the most important skill, with 7 in 10 stating security certifications are more useful than security degrees.
Aside from training students and the next generation workforce, cybersecurity is a viable career option for those looking to change careers or those re-entering the workforce after an absence. Cybersecurity training and certification programmes should be open to veterans and those seeking return-to-work programmes. This can also help to close the gender gap in the industry, as 90 percent of return-to-work candidates are women, while the cybersecurity industry consists of just 11 percent women.
Finally, organisations can invest in their own employees who already have technical skills and backgrounds by providing them with cybersecurity specific training and continuing education.
The cybersecurity skills gap continues to grow. Organisations cannot continue to hope that candidates who meet strict requirements will come along if they are not proactive in promoting and offering training. This is why academia and organisations must work together to invest in cybersecurity training and curriculums that will prepare prospects for this high-demand field.