The cybersecurity industry skills gap

By Nitzan Yaakov, Data Security Analyst at Aqua Security

While there is undeniably a technology skills shortage that we’re facing across the world, there are things we can be doing better as an industry to help close that gap and recruit and retain young talent.

These range from changes in job descriptions, recruitment efforts, and increasing diversity.

The challenges often begin at the university level. Many computer science students will spend their studies focused on coding languages and the software development lifecycle. While those working toward computer engineering degrees will probably focus on designing solutions for digital systems and building components. In the working world, these roles are typically less siloed. Another challenge is that emerging security tools, such as cloud native security, are difficult to teach because their dynamic nature makes it challenging for university curriculums to keep up.

Upon graduation, these students too often find job postings for roles that may require more advanced experience than they can bring. Or they may simply be unclear if a job is right for them based on a narrow job description. On top of that, junior technology positions are less common, and when they do exist, competition is fierce which makes the process even more challenging. The universities try to answer this gap by holding job fairs, inviting leading companies from the industry to suggest their open positions to the enthusiastic students. Companies should recognise the benefits of junior positions and create more opportunities for recent grads. Onboarding a young, energetic workforce can be invaluable to a company’s innovation and culture.

Improving gender representation within the sector is another hurdle to overcome. Cybersecurity is currently a very male dominated industry which can be off-putting for women looking to start their careers. Learning programmes, female led industry events, and better female representation at the c-suite level are steps toward bridging the gender gap and encouraging more young women to consider roles that they may otherwise think are too male dominated.

There are benefits to exploring a wider career path and finding the right role in cybersecurity. Indeed, if more students are encouraged to do this, and helped by the companies themselves, it would go some way towards solving the skills gap in the cybersecurity industry.

About the author

Nitzan YaakovNitzan Yaakov has over seven years of experience in cybersecurity as well as a BS in Information Systems and Cyber Security from The Academic College of Tel-Aviv.

Her career began in the Israel Defense Forces, where she first started as a QA Tester, cross checking software and web applications for issues, as well as evaluating IT/digital programmes for military operations. Since then, she has worked at Citadel Cyber Security, an consulting and managed services specialist as a cyber security analyst, and at Applied Materials as a data system analyst. Before finally joining Aqua, earlier this year.