Need a job? Consider cyber security, where the chronic personnel shortage seems unlikely to subside any time soon.
Indeed, BT plans to add 900 people worldwide to its security business over the next 12 months. The service provider already employs 2,500 security experts, it says.
The skills shortage ranked as the number 1 concern in a recent Hewlett Packard Enterprise survey of executives responsible for their organization's security. It's not for lack of money, either, because in a recent IDG survey of IT executives and senior managers, 70% said data security is their top budget priority.
"Just in the U.S. alone, over 275,000 jobs weren't filled last year," says Anil Varghese, chief information security officer at Service King Collision Repair Centers. "Cisco [said] globally, over a million jobs in cyber security have yet to be filled just because it's a new function, and not enough folks are there who have the background and skill sets."
To cope, many enterprises are taking a hybrid approach, where some security tasks are handled by staff and others are farmed out to managed service providers like BT.
"These new models require less in-house expertise while retaining control over critical pieces of the security organization's detection capability," the HPE study says. "This allows the organization to retain the technology and security information but lean on external resources for level 1 monitoring. They typically keep level 2 and incident response capabilities in-house."
BT can afford to go on a hiring spree -- annual revenue from its security services is growing at double-digit rate -- but that doesn't mean it will have an easier time finding people than its customers are. The service provider expects 170 of the 900 will be new college graduates and apprentices, who will be trained at BT's Security Academy. Others will be people who stand out from the pack at BT-sponsored hackathons, the company says.
"A number of high-profile security and data breaches have dominated the headlines in recent months, and this has led to a surge in interest from both consumers and IT departments wanting to know how best they can protect themselves in the digital world," says Mark Hughes, president of BT Security, in a statement. "BT plans to remain at the forefront... by hiring some of the best talent while training up the next generation of experts at our BT Security Academy."
There's also the overarching issue of how to attract people who otherwise might not consider a career in IT, period, let alone specialties such as cyber security. Focusing on gender is one strategy. For example, only 10% of IT security workers are women, according to the Center for Cyber Safety and Education's Global Information Security Workforce Study. Hence the annual Scholarship for Women Studying Information Security, a collegiate program whose sponsors and partners are HPE, Applied Computer Security Associates and the Computing Research Association's Committee on the Status of Women in Computing Research.
There are dozens of additional initiatives aimed at encouraging women to consider cyber security careers, as well as ones geared toward military veterans. One example is the Wounded Warrior Cyber Combat Academy, which launched in late 2012.
— Tim Kridel, Freelance Contributor. Follow him on Twitter @TimKridel. Special to The New IP