Cybersecurity jobs are getting more complicated (and harder to fill)

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Ever since networks began connecting enterprise computer systems, organizations have needed workers who understood cybersecurity. Indeed, people with network and systems security expertise usually have been well-paid and in high demand. As far as technology career paths go, security is one of the best.

But as with any technology-related position in the digital era, change is coming hard, fast, and non-stop. Emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning, automation, the Internet of Things (IoT), voice assistants, cloud and edge computing, and more are complicating enterprise security — while also presenting new opportunities.

CSO contributor Stacy Collett suggests that IT security jobs will look vastly different five years from now.

“For starters,” she writes, “cybersecurity careers will become more scientifically based as sophisticated attackers pursue more deceptive channels, such as adversarial machine learning, subtle deepfakes, or small changes in training set data that intentionally bias algorithms,” according to Steven Weber, director of the Center for Long-Term Cybersecurity at the University of California – Berkeley.

Another way cybersecurity jobs may be different, Collett says, is that some security workers may be placed within operational teams rather than the IT department. So the product development team and customer support, among others, would have their own IT pros assigned to them; this is similar to the notion of placing data analysts within work units instead of being “siloed” in IT.

Moving security pros to business units makes a lot of sense in that they would be able to identify and eliminate potential security flaws during the development or user design phases, reducing the chances of launching products or services that have vulnerabilities. Further, decentralizing enterprise security likely will result in greater awareness of cybersecurity across the organization because it no longer will be viewed as solely an IT concern.

AI, machine learning, and automation also are transforming the nature of IT security jobs as they take over basic security functions, thus enabling workers to focus on higher-level activities. This, along with an increasing culture of security throughout the organization, is one of the big benefits the evolving nature of enterprise security will present to security pros and their employers.

And if none of the above will persuade you that cybersecurity is a booming field, consider that Cybersecurity Ventures predicts there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021. Other research and consulting firms have made similar forecasts about the shortage of security pros to fill open jobs. If you have security skills, or even are willing to learn, the opportunities are there.

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