Cybersecurity Opportunity Article | University of Delaware Online

Cybersecurity Field is Ripe with Opportunity

Throughout 2016 and beyond, one thing appears certain: there is a massive cybersecurity talent shortage on a global scale. Just a few short years ago, only very large enterprises and the most IT-centric firms required their own in-house computer security experts. Today, every industry is clamoring for well-trained cybersecurity specialists to ensure organizational and customer data remain secure against the ever-increasing risk of attack.

According to the Verizon 2015 Data Breach Investigations Report, 80,000 security incidents were reported in one year out of only seventy large organizations surveyed. While IT dealt with the bulk of these encroachments, more than 2,000 serious security breaches occurred. This is particularly disturbing in view of the fact that these companies were already heavily invested in the latest and greatest security technologies.

Cyber attacks are like a modern-day version of the Trojan Horse. One way it is accomplished is via a technique known as phishing, where unsuspecting employees are tricked into clicking on links or opening attachments that allow the bad guys to gain discreet access. Malware can then take its time learning passwords, copying account numbers, and figuring out how to slip past the security perimeter undetected.

Once everything is in place - and months could have been spent in preparation - a sudden attack could expose tens of millions of people to identity theft. The headlines are filled with countless examples. The situation is worsened by the increasingly open nature of modern IT networks. Aside from servers and PCs, there are tablets, smartphones, watches, and other avenues that provide a hacker with exploitation opportunities.

This is why experts predict heavy demand for security-savvy IT professionals for many years to come. Such a skills gap currently exists that average salaries for cybersecurity specialists have spiked. This is probably the hottest area in IT right now.

Some universities around the world are helping to fill the void by providing graduate programs that ready students for this demanding and ever-changing field. The University of Delaware has created an online Master of Science in Cybersecurity program that enables students to gain real-life experience in neutralizing a variety of cyber-threat scenarios from active practitioners with strong corporate and military backgrounds.

Those graduating from this program can look forward to a successful career in IT, where salaries are rising due to simple economics. The 2015 Cost of Data Breach Study: Global Analysis by IBM and the Ponemon Institute reported the average cost for each lost or stolen record containing confidential or sensitive data to be $154. With the possibility of millions of records being siphoned off in one breach, it is far cheaper for organizations to assemble elite teams of cybersecurity specialists. They are especially looking for accomplished candidates with master’s degrees in cybersecurity from programs to enable them to combat these growing threats.

According to the Robert Half Technology 2016 Salary Guide, cybersecurity jobs are among the best paid in IT. Salary examples from the guide include:

Chief Security Officer: $140,250 - $222,500
Data Security Analyst: $113,500 - $160,000
Systems Security Administrator: $105,500 - $149,500
Network Security Administrator: $103,250 - $147,000
Network Security Engineer: $110,250 - $152,750
Information Systems Security Manager: $122,250 - $182,000

The Robert Half study also found that cybersecurity pay rates are rising rapidly. They are expected to jump anywhere from 5.3 percent to 7.1 percent in 2016 alone.


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