Update: Cybersecurity: Jobs in Demand

By: Suzanne Weston

Cyber professionals are crime stoppers; they need to outthink the hackers, reduce risks of penetration and design early detection. Cyber crime damage costs are projected to hit $6 trillion annually by 2021 (see details in Cybersecurity Business Report October 2017).  According to Warren Buffet, cyber attacks might be the biggest problem for mankind, bigger than nuclear weapons.  Cybersecurity professionals are needed to defend apps, data, devices, infrastructure, and people from a breach, which can result in the loss or destruction of data, theft of money or intellectual property. Cybersecurity is like the Wild West, it is exciting and still evolving, and The Rutgers Masters of Business and Science can prepare you for your career in cybersecurity.

This blog post updates our April 2016 analysis by looking at on-line cybersecurity jobs advertised between November 01, 2016 and October 31, 2017 in the U.S. generally, and in the Tri-state area specifically using a tool called Labor Insight from Burning Glass Technologies. By mining the detailed information stored in job postings we can determine what employers are looking for when they fill cybersecurity positions. [See the Methods section for additional information.]

Cybersecurity jobs span a wide range of industries and include many titles. Security engineer is the most common title both in our region and across the United States, appearing in 5% of the jobs advertised.  The low frequency of any given title suggests that cyber positions differ by organization and fill a variety of roles. While the names may change, the basic requirements are similar: cybersecurity requires knowledge of network infrastructure, combined with analysis and compliance.  Cybersecurity personnel balance the technical need to detect and prevent breaches with the management functions for communication, education, process design and compliance. Cyber is no longer relegated to infrastructure. The associated knowledge and vigilance must be woven into the very fabric of organizations.

cybersecurity jobs

Three out of four cybersecurity jobs are specifically associated with information technology, that is, specifically aligned with computer science and mathematics. The remaining jobs advertised are business and finance operations [13%], management [5%] and sales [2%] with the residual 6% spread across 16 disciplines. This distribution shows how cybersecurity is extending into organizations.

Parsing the job descriptions provides directional guidance as to which skills are in high demand. Information security is the most requested skill appearing in 38% of jobs nationally, and 43% of jobs regionally. Although the similar skills regionally and nationally, their relative importance differs. Risk and project management are identified more often in our region, falling into the number 2 and 5 positions, respectively.  Nationally, one out of five jobs are looking for knowledge of information systems, network security and UNIX, followed by project management (17%) and cryptography (15%). Specific software knowledge requested most often include: LINUX / UNIX, SQL / Oracle, JAVA and Python.

cybersecurity skills

Certifications are important for careers in cybersecurity, with Certified Information Security Professional (CISSP) requested most often (24% of job postings). Security clearance is required for defense related positions. Engineers can obtain certifications to qualify for internal roles in cyber.

cybersecurity certifications

Project management is the most requested non-technical discipline; it appears in one out of five job postings. It is also classified in the top five technical skills. The next most requested skills are customer service and business process and analytics, which appear in 17% of jobs; legal appears in 11% of jobs; and 10% of jobs request a security clearance.

non-technical cybersecurity skills

Cybersecurity jobs are most heavily concentrated in four regions, which account for 36% of the advertised jobs.

  1. Washington DC / Virginia and Maryland advertised 15% of jobs with two companies, Booz Allen Hamilton and General Dynamics accounting for the most job postings.
  2. New York / New Jersey / Pennsylvania [see chart below] advertised 8% of jobs.
  3. California advertised 8% of jobs, which were distributed over many companies, with no single company standing out. 
  4. Illinois and Indiana advertised 4% of jobs distributed over many companies, with no single company standing out.

Looking at the individual states shows that ten states account for 58% of the jobs. The states generating the most job postings are California and Virginia each account for 11% of jobs.  Our region, New York and New Jersey both fall in the top ten states for job creation.

cybersecurity regions

Employers who advertised on-line last year included: 

cybersecurity employers

Projected Demand

The number of cyber jobs posted online is projected to remain strong.  Job creation peaked in 2015, both nationally and regionally. The number of positions posted seems to have leveled at approximately 140,000 jobs nationally. With our region making up 6% of all positions posted.  [Note 2017 is a straight-line projection based on October year-to-date data].

cybersecurity job demand

Cybersecurity roles have been evolving in response to potential threats and vulnerabilities due to our increased reliance on digital. Innovations such as self-driving cars, bitcoin, cloud computing and virtualization expose companies to new threats. Cybersecurity knowledge will extend from domain of technologists to shape business decisions including assessing geopolitical threats, mergers & acquisitions and legal. As cyber matures it will become more integrated across business functions creating roles in training, risk and compliance.

This is a new frontier, filled with opportunities.

The Rutgers Master of Business and Science program provides the required science and business skills positioning our graduates as strong candidates for these emerging jobs. Students (and professionals looking to enhance their credentials) can use the information above to choose electives, certifications and other learning experiences that can help position them as an “in demand” candidate for a career in cybersecurity.

Methods

To do this analysis, we used a tool called Labor Insight from Burning Glass. It allows you to mine data from on-line job postings to identify trends in the job market, such as job titles and skills in high demand and where jobs are concentrated, among other things. Because many jobs are posted several times in different places online, the system uses several methods to eliminate as many duplicate postings as possible (See here for more information: http://burning-glass.com). To help students and other entry-level job seekers, we limited the analysis to jobs requiring at least a Bachelor’s degree and less than 5 years of experience.

While this analysis can show trends in the job market, there are limitations. Not all jobs are advertised on-line. The unstructured nature of job ads can make it difficult for the system to identify individual pieces of information effectively in some cases. While Labor Insight breaks up all the pieces of the job description into fields for analysis inconsistency in formatting of job descriptions and industry specific terminology or titles may result in wider distributions, especially in job titles.  As a result, some irrelevant jobs may be included while some relevant jobs may get left out. Overall, however, I hope that this analysis of “real-time” jobs data gives you a basic understanding of what is in demand in your area of interest.