Pursue a career in cybersecurity
3 November 2017: Shadow Brokers, WannaCry, Cloudbleed, Vault7 – they sound like video games but the devastation these cyber-attacks and leaks wreak is all too real. In 2017, WannaCry arguably took the title for the biggest attack, spreading ransomware to infect over 300, 000 PCs across myriad global goliaths, including the NHS and the Houses of Parliament in the UK. Cybercrime is on the rise the world over, with South Africa in Rapid7’s 2016 list of top ten countries most vulnerable to attack.
The rampage of cybercrime has solicited a corresponding rise in the need for cybersecurity specialists – a skillset that’s sorely lacking globally, along with IT capabilities in general. What this means is that there’s unprecedented opportunity for anyone with the right skills and thorough understanding of the information and IT landscape to take advantage of the dearth and potentially earn a sizeable salary. An online course is the ideal way to accrue these skills or to refresh existing knowledge as the cybersecurity landscape is continuously evolving as new threats emerge.
Huffpost reports that the Intel Security and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) estimated that from now until 2019, the world needs another two million cybersecurity professionals. That’s a massive gap that urgently needs to be filled – posing a problem for South Africa, which has to compete with the global demand for these capabilities.
SA, like the rest of the world, has come under significant attack in the last few years. Huffpost reports that 32% of surveyed organisations have been victim to cybercrime, and the majority believe they’ll be vulnerable to attack in the next two years. The question then becomes one of education – how to effectively upskill individuals to accrue these skills quickly – and then, how to stop the migration of valuable cybersecurity professionals jumping onto opportunities overseas.
Monster – a global online employment solution – reports that the most common job titles for cybersecurity professionals are: cybersecurity engineer, architect, analyst or specialist, however, it’s not yet a common title on its own. Frequently, the responsibility forms part of a bigger role, like ‘security engineer, security director, CSO (Chief Security Officer)/ CISO (Chief Information Security Officer), systems administrator or network architect’. This is likely to change as cybercrime shows no sign of abating and there’s an evident lack of individuals with the specialised capabilities necessary to curb the tide.
Additionally, Monster believes the common skills required for a cybersecurity professional include ‘fast response to incidents; auditing and compliance; intrusion detection; firewall/ IDS (intrusion detection system skills; analytics; computer security, security information and event management (SIEM); advanced malware prevention and cloud computing’, amongst others. The foundation for all of these is a thorough understanding of IT and computer science. Most universities aren’t teaching cybersecurity as a subject and so many people interested in pursuing this path are turning to online courses and certifications to kick-start their careers.
What can DigitalCampus do
DigitalCampus offers a range of online short courses, the most relevant of which is probably IT Management for CIO Teams. A ten week course, the material covered examines the role of IT as the nerve centre of every company, with a holistic, foundational view of IT management and how it ties into a greater vision for a business. Entirely online, the programme imbues the capabilities necessary to understand the IT landscape, connect and bridge to business and to serve business as true ITBP’s and thought leaders. With a focus on strategy, this course is perfectly positioned to enable those who take it to understand strategic business imperatives and to be able to translate those into successful digitisation projects, thus playing a vital role in strengthening their company’s competitive advantage.
With such phenomenal demand and so few skilled individuals available, this could be the start of a lucrative and rewarding chapter, fighting a kind of crime the world still doesn’t fully understand. Set to evolve and become ever more destructive, cybercrime is an exciting field that demands continuous learning to ensure skills match the sophistication of the threat.