Will cybersecurity die?

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Cybersecurity has recently gotten a reputation as one of the best technology fields to get into. It’s well advertised that cybersecurity has a shortage of employees globally of about 4 million. This means low unemployment and above average salaries for people that can get into the field. But past performance doesn’t guarantee future performance. If you’re someone new looking to get into the field you want to look at the long-term projections of a career before you make the financial investment to get a degree, certifications or self-study. Here I go over some of the main reasons why I think cybersecurity will continue to have high demand well into the next decade.

Growth Projection: The first reason I’d say cybersecurity won’t die in the future is its solid growth projection. Cybersecurity has continue to increase over the years and it’s deficit of workers is expected to continue well into 2025 and even 2030 in some projections. Not only is cybersecurity is expected to increase but it’s primary cause cybercrime, is expected to increase greatly in the next few years. It stands to reason if cybercrime, especially cybercrime against corporations and governments continues to increase then so will the demand for cybersecurity professionals, products and services.

Human Attackers: One thing that makes cybersecurity hard to fully automate is the fact that the attacks are created and performed by human threat actors. These threat actors often have an understanding of the latest security software solutions and are able to purposely deceive these tools when they are designing their attacks. When you are dealing with human beings that are able to adapt very quickly, it’s going to be hard to fully automate the work of a cybersecurity professional.

The State of Technology/AI: We have seen a lot of innovation and advancement in technology in the 21st century but it is still far from being able to think and act the way that a human can. Typically, AI and computers excel when it comes to the speed that they can perform tasks and using large data sets to find and predict patterns. However, there ability to be creative and analyze is still lower than what humans can produce. At this point AI is more suited for performing repetitive tasks than critical thinking. 

Compliance/Regulations: Many laws have been passed that mandate that companies protect their customers personal information with an “appropriate” level of security controls. The exact requirements depend on the regulation, but they vary depending on the company’s location, industry and size. The main point is that cybersecurity is no longer optional for many companies, it’s a legal requirement and as a result there will always be a certain demand for cybersecurity professionals if these laws exist. 

Government Contracts: Cyber espionage is the use of computer networks to gain access to confidential information held by another government or organization. If there are governments or companies that want to spy on their competitors, there will be a demand for penetration testers/hackers. It’s important for governments to able to get information from other governments that they have bad relations with or even their allies. Given that the internet reaches all over the globe, it’s a great means to spy on their competition and as a result many governments hire individual hackers or organized crime groups to spy on other governments. This same thought process applies to private companies that want to get information on their competitors, steal intellectual property or inhibit their competitor’s ability to do business.

Profit: Countries such as North Korea have been known to use computer hacking as a means of generating money for the country. It’s been estimated that in the last few years North Korea has earned up to $2 billion through illegal cyber operations. In addition to government, there are tons of organized hacker groups that are paid by governments and private companies to do different types of hacks. Many of them also perform hacks at their own discretion against banks, governments etc to earn a profit. 

Final Thoughts

Overall, cybersecurity has a promising outlook. It has had steady growth over the last few years and it is expected to continue well into the future. The demand for cybersecurity among companies has moved from purely a business requirement to being required by law, in regulations such as CCPA, GDPR, PIPEDA and so on. This ensures that going into the future companies will have to allocate resources to cybersecurity. Lastly, cybercrime is extremely profitable to governments and private crime groups, this continues to be a huge incentive for them to continue to hack into organizations, which results in a big demand for cybersecurity.