Today, internet has bought the world closer but that does not mean that it is a safe place. Cyber-attacks are becoming common and each attack seems more sophisticated than the last. But despite these frequent occurrences, the tech industry still suffers from a massive workforce shortage in finding people qualified enough to tackle these threats.
With 61% of global population connected to internet, 30,000 websites being hacked daily and more than two thousand additional cyber breaches that affect companies and individuals alike, there are still an estimated 3.5 million cybersecurity vacancies worldwide. According to tech experts like Ron Sharon, the reason for this imbalance is the massive skill-gap of the graduates that are entering the industry.
Ron Sharon’s Point of View:
Sharon is an IT executive and cybersecurity leader with nearly two decades of experience developing innovative technology and security solutions. Sharon blames the global cybersecurity skill gap on two reasons:
- The decades of neglect of cybersecurity by businesses, enterprises and educational institutions.
- The ever-changing and evolving nature of technology.
According to Sharon, even during the early days of internet, most companies lacked basic cybersecurity measures and believes the problem persists even today, quoting, “Most businesses have the same fundamental flaw in the way they see technology, they view technology as a cost center, an expense, a necessary evil that they are forced to spend money on”.
Is Hacking an Ethical Solution to eliminate this Skill-gap?
While the term “hacker” is considered negative, Sharon explains that is a misconception. “A computer hacker is someone who uses their knowledge to achieve a goal or overcome an obstacle within a computer system, using non-standard means,” Sharon said. The people who steal your data or money and infiltrate large-scale systems, taking them hostage, are criminals, not hackers.”
Tinkering with computers may sound blunt, but experts believe it to be one of the most basic way to develop hands-on practical skills and although these skills, gained from self-directed learning cannot be taught in a typical classroom setting, theoretical knowledge is still a necessity.
College Education and other ways to close the Skill-gap:
Many colleges and universities have started to offer programs focused specially on cyber-tech. “New programs have started at leading institutions across the country–but It takes four years to complete a college degree, and when you are done, you have a lot of theoretical knowledge but no real-world experience,” Sharon said.
With the cost of education increasing on annual basis, Sharon recommends aspiring students to develop soft skills through online courses and tech bootcamps, saying, “You can take courses like CompTIA A+ and CompTIA Security+ and then use certifications to show employers you have the necessary knowledge for an entry-level cybersecurity position.”
Sharon believes that the burden of fixing the skill-gap is not only on those seeking jobs but on the industry itself. “As an industry, we need to do better, and we need to have a low cost in-depth, hands-on training and certification programs for cyber security professionals. This will be a good first step in closing the skills gap.”
With over 4.8 billion individuals connected to the internet, tech industry has reached a pivotal point to face this problem head on. Sharon’s biggest piece of advice to those seeking a career in the cybersecurity industry is to take a risk. “Don’t be afraid to apply for jobs that you’re not a perfect fit for, and most importantly, never give up.”
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