How to Fix Cybersecurity and Network Engineering Skills Gap

A hacker strikes every 39 seconds on average in America and targets corporate infrastructures, customers and individuals. What is at risk? Almost anything that works on a digital framework—medical records, bank transactions, and social security numbers—can be compromised or stolen.

There is a concrete need for IT engineers and cybersecurity analysts, and yet at the end of 2021 there were still 3.5 million cyber jobs unfilled – enough to be filled 50 NFL stadiums. Information technology is the second-fastest-growing career field in 2022, projected to grow 22 percent by the end of the decade, with more than 300,000 job vacancies in the US. This massive vacancy demonstrates the need to place more educated talent in this field.

More than 50 billion devices are connected to the internet and more are being connected every day. This extremely large attack surface is a growing problem. America’s networks are more vulnerable than ever, but their guards are running short.

The threat

Digital attacks are a problem for businesses of all sizes, but small businesses are disproportionately affected. More than half of all small businesses will be affected by a data breach; from the target persons, 60 percent will close their doors within six months. Those that survive will spend an average of $200,000 to repair the damage.

These multiple attacks also negatively impact the everyday lives of Americans, with one in three being affected by cyber breaches each year.

Stolen passwords or phishing emails may seem like minor inconveniences, but their impact can be severe. Data breaches allow cybercriminals to open and use new credit cards under their victim’s name, sell social security or credit card numbers on the dark web, or even hijack a victim’s airline miles.

America’s networks need digital rescuers — skilled IT staff who can support digital networks as they grow and evolve, build cybersecurity components that ensure monitored and proactive threat management, and design defenses against the rapidly changing world of cybercrime — but many of these are emerging Cyber ​​professionals are missing a critical component: training.

The glaring skill gap

This is expected by 2025 85 million people will experience job interruptions or displacements due to digitization. At the same time, more than 97 million jobs will be created that require new skills, including roles in information technology, AI, machine learning and data science.

As the need for skilled cyber professionals grows exponentially, investors are putting their money into action. In fact, global IT spending is projected to be $4.5 trillion in 2022.

However, funding these employees also means providing a solution to the significant skills gap that many IT professionals currently face.

Enter EdTech.

By combining education with technology to advance training and help students progress rapidly while maintaining the certifications and industry standards needed to succeed in their fields, EdTech can serve as a powerful mechanism for those embarking on the… looking to change jobs, or for employers who want to offer team members an accessible way to expand their knowledge.

on-the-job training

If you’re already employed but looking to improve your skills, or you have a talented tech team but want to offer additional educational opportunities to meet a specific need in your organization, on-the-job training could be the right mix of work and Continuing education. This type of training may involve mentorship or job shadowing, cross-training between colleagues, or the development of a solid internship program.

On-the-job training is also a great way to attract emerging talent or gain a foothold in a field with little experience. Make it easier to find these jobs with a filtered search on job sites like Indeed or LinkedIn. Job seekers with managerial experience might find the Ladders search engine helpful, while recent college graduates might prefer the Scouted platform.

Comb through for a more targeted approach education Training magazine’s Top 100 list, recognizing organizations that provide in-demand employee training and development.

Pro: Build your resume while you study

Disadvantage: Employee trainers may be ineffective

Paid Education

An apprenticeship or residency can be a wise choice if you want to be qualified in a niche tech role. Apprentices are paid to learn and gain experience in a particular occupation through a program that typically lasts one to six years and is often registered with a state or federal agency.

Explore apprenticeship.gov to discover verified paid training opportunities, or try CareerOneStop where you can search by career, school or program. The US Department of Labor also offers Job Corps, an residential vocational training program for low-income applicants ages 16 to 24 that provides taxpayer-funded room and board, free health care, and a living allowance. Job Corps students receive technical training in areas such as IT and receive job placement assistance at the end of the program.

Pro: Hands-on learning experience with no student debt

Con: Competitive application process

Online skills training

The core of a cybersecurity professional’s skills begins with a network engineering foundation, learning how to design and implement network configurations, and how to troubleshoot, improve, and monitor network activities. Online learning can increase job readiness or speed up training by reducing training to months instead of years.

Access world-class online learning programs to find the right program for your interests and career goals, or take your skills to the next level with real-world case studies and military training.

Pro: Flexible, fast learning

Disadvantage: Requires self-discipline and motivation

Choosing the right creative approach

Choosing the right training option for you or your business means considering your individual needs, goals and resources and simply getting started and looking for financial support. Government-funded training through Job Corps may be the best option. Are you hoping to increase your income through a new IT role? An online training program from NGT Academy could provide the tools needed to land your dream cybersecurity and network engineering job.

The need for network engineering experts and cybersecurity analysts is high and the demand within the workforce continues to grow. Addressing this critical shortage and closing the skills gap for workers ready to enter the IT industry requires a willingness to take a creative approach to training and equipping these essential workers.

In part two of this series, we’ll examine how these non-traditional educational methods compare to traditional four-year college degrees.

How do you think the next generation of IT professionals can protect their networks? let us know Facebook, Twitterand LinkedIn.

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