Jobs growth confirms security analysts are the most in-demand IT role: CompTIA

Demand for information-security professionals is growing faster than in any other segment of the IT industry, according to new figures from industry group CompTIA that confirm the strong market value of cybersecurity skills for those who have them.

The number of information-security analysts in the US market grew by 4.8 percent compared with the previous year, topping a list that was dominated by high-level roles including web developers, software developers, systems analysts, IT support specialists, and IT managers.

This growth helped infosec analysts secure recognition as the top growth occupation in the US market during 2015, according to the group's rankings, which reported some 85,182 people in that position out of a total workforce of core IT occupations comprising 5.04 million people.

While the figures relate to the US market, the Australian market has faced similar obstacles. The industry's surging appetite for security skills reflected the increasing difficulties that organisations in all sectors are having in finding and securing skilled staff – and surfacing the need for CSOs to build strategies for finding and attracting talent.

Cisco Systems, for one, last year called out the need for better cybersecurity development programs as part of its response to the Australian Government Cyber Security Review. IT-security experts are pushing hard to promote science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education in a market where even high-level information-security research groups, such as the Australian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS), have admitted they face challenges in expanding their core base of skilled security workers.

Failure to do so will be “problematic”, ACCS visiting professor Dr Greg Austin recently told CSO Australia, noting that the construction of a sufficient cybersecurity defence was “as big a change for most militaries as was the introduction of the air force.”

While the CompTIA figures showed a clear growth in demand for security skills, demand for more conventional, low-level careers such as computer service technicians, network architects, and computer programmers languished at the bottom of the list, where the 'other' category of computer occupations grew just 1.4 percent from 2014 to 2015.

Unemployment amongst IT workers was 2.6 percent, around half of that country's overall unemployment rate. This was reflected in the high volume of job postings for infosec analysts, which exploded by 48 percent from 17,492 in the fourth quarter of 2014 to 25,869 in Q4 2015.

The results of the CompTIA review corroborate a recent Cybrary survey of 435 senior-level technology professionals, 80 percent of whom said they always or sometimes have trouble recruiting skilled cybersecurity professionals, with recruiting often taking up to four months.

Those employers indicated that the skills they most wanted included ethical hacking, computer forensics, CISSP certifications, malware analysis, and advanced penetration testing. Fully 47 percent of respondents said they were planning to hire one to 10 IT-security workers during 2016.

“Companies and the public at large should be concerned with these results, which call attention to the continuing impact of the cyber security talent gap,” said Ryan Corey, co-founder of Cybrary, a provider of massive open online courses in areas including cybersecurity.

“Companies with pressing cyber security needs are finding that there’s a major lack of qualified professionals to fill their positions, which makes them vulnerable to cyber attacks. This underscores the need for better access to cyber security training, which can get new talent into the field quickly, help close the cyber security skills gap, and make companies more secure.”

Read more: Why cyber security was on the World Economic Forum agenda

Participate in CSO and Gigamon's survey on Security Priorities today!

Go into the draw for a chance to win an Apple iWatch Sports or the equivalent of $500 Visa Cashcard.

For full terms and conditions click here.

Read more: ​How the security and operations gap is threatening your business

Start survey NOW!

Join the CSO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags cybersecurityDavid Brauecomptiasecurity analystsAustralian Government Cyber Security ReviewAustralian Centre for Cyber Security (ACCS)CSO Australiacyber securityinformation-security professionalsstrategie

More about AppleCiscoCompTIACSOGigamonVisa

Show Comments

Featured Whitepapers

Editor's Recommendations

Solution Centres

Stories by David Braue

Latest Videos

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Will your data protection strategy be enough when disaster strikes?

    Speakers: - Paul O’Connor, Engagement leader - Performance Audit Group, Victorian Auditor-General’s Office (VAGO) - Nigel Phair, Managing Director, Centre for Internet Safety - Joshua Stenhouse, Technical Evangelist, Zerto - Anthony Caruana, CSO MC & Moderator

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: The Human Factor - Your people are your biggest security weakness

    ​Speakers: David Lacey, Researcher and former CISO Royal Mail David Turner - Global Risk Management Expert Mark Guntrip - Group Manager, Email Protection, Proofpoint

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Current ransomware defences are failing – but machine learning can drive a more proactive solution

    Speakers • Ty Miller, Director, Threat Intelligence • Mark Gregory, Leader, Network Engineering Research Group, RMIT • Jeff Lanza, Retired FBI Agent (USA) • Andy Solterbeck, VP Asia Pacific, Cylance • David Braue, CSO MC/Moderator What to expect: ​Hear from industry experts on the local and global ransomware threat landscape. Explore a new approach to dealing with ransomware using machine-learning techniques and by thinking about the problem in a fundamentally different way. Apply techniques for gathering insight into ransomware behaviour and find out what elements must go into a truly effective ransomware defence. Get a first-hand look at how ransomware actually works in practice, and how machine-learning techniques can pick up on its activities long before your employees do.

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: Get real about metadata to avoid a false sense of security

    Speakers: • Anthony Caruana – CSO MC and moderator • Ian Farquhar, Worldwide Virtual Security Team Lead, Gigamon • John Lindsay, Former CTO, iiNet • Skeeve Stevens, Futurist, Future Sumo • David Vaile - Vice chair of APF, Co-Convenor of the Cyberspace Law And Policy Community, UNSW Law Faculty This webinar covers: - A 101 on metadata - what it is and how to use it - Insight into a typical attack, what happens and what we would find when looking into the metadata - How to collect metadata, use this to detect attacks and get greater insight into how you can use this to protect your organisation - Learn how much raw data and metadata to retain and how long for - Get a reality check on how you're using your metadata and if this is enough to secure your organisation

    Play Video

  • 150x50

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them

    CSO Webinar: How banking trojans work and how you can stop them Featuring: • John Baird, Director of Global Technology Production, Deutsche Bank • Samantha Macleod, GM Cyber Security, ME Bank • Sherrod DeGrippo, Director of Emerging Threats, Proofpoint (USA)

    Play Video

More videos

Blog Posts

Market Place