By Randall McGee
With the rise of technology and communication, so too rises the need to protect and secure those advancements. This need has caused a rise in cybersecurity, the career of securing computers, phones, servers, data, and much more. This rise comes with many implications, both good and bad.
Cybersecurity jobs being on the rise means many things: a rise in pay for these jobs, a rise in requirements, and a rise in education for cybersecurity. With an increase in interest, competition for these jobs is inevitable. With the increase in competition and the number of people applying for these jobs comes a rise in the requirements and standards set by cybersecurity companies hiring new employees.
In the way of pay, cybersecurity jobs have risen to pay anywhere from $60,000 a year to $200,000 a year, depending in the job, company, and experience of the employee. The average varies based on state and city, but the average is about $80,000 a year starting and $130,000 a year with experience. The high pay of these jobs makes them even more coveted by people entering the workforce after college.
This brings us to another point, which is the number of people wanting to get into cybersecurity courses in schools. This is a bit more complicated though, since there aren’t many courses specifically titled ‘cybersecurity’ in many colleges. There are, however, many similar classes in high schools and secondary schools around the world. In college, classes that one would take for a career in cybersecurity would be courses like Computer Science, which is often included in the science or engineering departments. Realistically, it likely makes no significant difference whether it is the science or engineering course, but the one with higher requirements and likely the more impressive one is the engineering computer science.
The point being is that many people are wanting to get into these courses, making the process of selecting students for them tedious. Less students get in than who apply, and only the best and brightest of students manage to get in.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, as the classes aren’t what one would describe as easy. Engineering computer science is still an engineering course, and with that comes a lot of math requirements such as advanced calculus and hours of study. The science is easier, but as it is a science cirriculum they likely have to learn other kinds of science along with it, if not its effects on society and the world around them.
While it makes it harder for aspiring cybersecurity experts to get proper education and jobs, this also has some positive effects. With this natural selection-like sort of competition, the best make it through and are put into the workforce. This means that the best possible cybersecurity experts are at work keeping hackers out of company's data and out of America's banks. In this age it’s especially important for this to occur, as more and more hackers originating from foreign countries are attempting to take money away from Americans and put it in their own pockets. Especially in countries such as Russia and North Korea, where such actions are often supported by the government, groups are praised for hacking and dismantling American infrastructure.
Currently, many of the best hackers and hacking groups in the world originate in Russia. As the Russian economy is on average very poor, citizens of Russia find it necessary to take money from more wealthy countries, meaning the United States is often a target of hacking. In the age where technology is the backbone of society itself, it is a very dangerous concept that a foreign country would have the power to destroy and disable technology with hackers and hacking groups.
But thankfully for the rise in cybersecurity competition, and companies realizing the threat before it becomes too serious, businesses in the United States are fairly well prepared for these threats. With the increase in preparation, more competition in cybersecurity careers, and better cybersecurity specialists, America has a lot less to worry about from hackers.
I suppose the bottom line is that the double edged sword of competition in the workforce for these new jobs has overall made America safer and will continue to keep hackers and hacking groups at bay for years to come.