Graduation season is finally here, and that means all of us soon-to-be grads are hearing the same question: what are you going to do after you graduate? We dread this question — the idea of post-grad plans is terrifying, and we all know how hard it is to get a job. But there’s one field you probably haven’t considered, despite the fact that there were more than one million unfilled positions last year: cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity Ventures estimates that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021. And yet only 9 percent of “tech-savvy” Millennials and post-Millennials are interested in cybersecurity jobs.
This is largely because we haven’t been exposed to jobs of this nature. According to a survey done by ProjectWise only 17 percent of students have been exposed to cybersecurity professionals and 69 percent had never taken a class in cybersecurity, despite 56 percent of respondents studying or planning to study STEM fields. So why should you be interested in a career in cybersecurity?
First of all, this is a field desperate for competent professionals. According to CSO, a subsidiary of the International Data Group, the rate of unemployment for cybersecurity professionals has dropped to 0 percent.
“The field of cybersecurity is the least populated of any field of technology. There are two job openings for every qualified candidate,” founder of Future Tense Central and CEO at MGT Capital Investment John McAffee said in an interview with CSO.
This desperation for qualified candidates has led to a huge spike in salaries for cybersecurity professionals. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average annual income in 2017 for an Information Security Analyst was nearly $100,000. That’s almost double the average starting salary of a college graduate in 2017.
Cybersecurity also offers a huge chance to help defend the world from one of the largest growing threats.
“We believe that data is the phenomenon of our time,” IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said at the 2015 IBM Security Summit. “It is the world’s new natural resource. It is the new basis of competitive advantage, and it is transforming every profession and industry. If all of this is true — even inevitable — then cybercrime, by definition, is the greatest threat to every profession, every industry, every company in the world.”
In 2017, Warren Buffett compared the threat of cyber attack to that of biological or chemical attacks, saying it was even more concerning than a nuclear attack. Cybersecurity professionals are the ones protecting the world from these threats.
Cyberattacks are the fastest growing crime in the United States and are expected to cost the world $6 trillion annually by 2021. As a cybersecurity professional, you could prevent these threats all with the swipe of your keyboard.
Although it may not sound glamorous at first, a career in cybersecurity may be the way to go for many young professionals looking to get their foot in the door of the workforce. Between the eagerness of employers to hire qualified applicants, the fantastic starting salaries and the chance to make a difference in the world, what starts off as a daunting job path may actually be one of the most exciting new opportunities for our generation.