Demand for cyber security keeps growing

In good times and bad, cyber security will be big business.

The Sony hacking incident was just the latest high-profile cyberattack that has the cyber security industry rapidly expanding to keep pace with growing demand. And that translates into a robust and growing career arena, ripe with potential to provide expertise and services on a range of levels.

The Trends Research Institute has been forecasting for nearly two decades the enormous potential in this area. Beneath the headlines covering high-profile, and often dramatic, broad-scale cases, smaller businesses, organizations and institutions are grappling with the same challenges.

Most recently, in the November edition of Trends Monthly, we forecast: “… the opportunities don’t lie solely with traditional avenues of training and career development, and the big company names that look for workers in those circles. This trend line is so broad and ongoing, that entrepreneurs with tech-savvy skills and vision will find healthy niches to fill, standing side by side with the familiar corporate entities.”

Now, according to The Wall Street Journal, “the demand for cyber security jobs is growing at 12 times the overall job market.” The publication also reported that “demand for cyber security experts grew 73 percent during the five years from 2007 to 2012” — and it has been accelerating ever since.

Burning Glass CEO Matthew Sigelman was quoted in that article: “While defense contractors and large IT firms continue to make up a considerable share of the demand for cyber security talent, much of the growth in demand we are witnessing is driven by a more diversified range of businesses, reflecting the widening focus on data by firms across the board… In fact, we have seen over 100 percent growth in demand for cyber security professionals within health care, education and public administration since 2007, and continued strong demand within retail.”

Neighborhood geek squads — locally owned and operated, uniquely positioned to serve their local communities — will emerge with strength in the year ahead. They’ll serve mom-and-pop businesses, community organizations, local institutions and local governments.

Accounting professionals will get in the game, too, by capitalizing on their handshake, first-name-basis identity with clients to provide services that protect the bottom line.

And local security companies will add new services to address cyber vulnerabilities.

These local opportunities, as well as the grand-scale potential to serve governments and large companies, will be supported by educational and training programs ranging from quick certificate-driven training paths to graduate degrees. Universities are introducing degree programs geared to cyber security. Community colleges and continuing-education programs also are in the game, offering degrees, certificates and one-off courses taking direct aim at this topic.

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