Bridging the Cybersecurity Talent Gap

There’s no one surefire way of fixing the cybersecurity skills gap problem, which endangers everyone’s security. There are, however, several options we should try.

Three and a half million. That’s how many unfilled cybersecurity jobs there are expected to be by 2021 —  more than the entire population of Iowa — according to Cybersecurity Ventures. It’s also up from 1 million in 2016, a 250% increase in five years, at a time when cybersecurity is becoming even more vital to protecting our way of life.

The industry has been talking about this talent gap for some time, but the speed at which the problem is growing is startling. And unless we do something to address the issue, things will keep getting worse, putting not only the future of the cybersecurity industry at risk but jeopardizing the safety of millions of individuals, businesses, and institutions worldwide.

To cure the problem, we must first understand the root cause. Visibility isn’t the issue — from data protection at Facebook to growing concerns about a new cyber Cold War with Russia, the cybersecurity field has never had a higher profile. And salary can’t be the issue, either — after all, this is an industry where the average annual paycheck is $116,000, roughly three times the national median income for full-time workers and around double what a high school teacher might expect to take home each year.