The cybersecurity industry is undergoing a period of rapid growth, with spending predicted to top $124 billion this year and increase consistently going forwards.
This rise is necessitated by the ongoing expansion of the cybercriminal underworld, which is creating serious issues for businesses and individuals around the globe. Costs associated with data breaches crept above $600 billion last year, giving an indication of the scale of the problem at the moment.
As a result, the number of cybersecurity career opportunities looks set to balloon as specialist firms up their staff numbers to cope with demand. But what shape will these roles take and how will prospects change for employees in this sector over the next decade?
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Securing The Internet Of Things
Most experts agree that one of the primary challenges facing cybersecurity providers going forwards lies in wrangling the fragmented yet increasingly all-encompassing Internet of Things (IoT).
Web-enabled gadgets are entering homes and workplaces at an alarming rate, tracking user habits and interacting with various connected systems. Better Defend points out that there is a lot of complacency surrounding the IoT, which has already resulted in hackers creating botnets made up of compromised routers, amongst other worrying uses.
Cybersecurity careers which are oriented around addressing the vulnerabilities of IoT devices and the associated infrastructures that support them will certainly experience a significant boost in the coming years. With more professionals focused on this area, a lot of the wider issues could be nipped in the bud rather than being allowed to blossom.
While the cryptocurrency market may have suffered a few setbacks of late, the blockchain technology that underpins it is still being touted as a hugely influential and potent solution that is applicable in other contexts.
As interest in the blockchain for providing general security and data encryption capabilities grows, so too will the need for cybersecurity professionals with expertise in this area. This might prompt some current employees to retrain and adjust their skills to reflect this change, while drawing a new career path for the next generation of experts who want to get started with something that is only going to become more relevant in the future.
Preparing For Cyber Warfare
While it is common for hackers to target commercial organisations in order to steal information that can be sold on, or to cause disruption for a variety of means and motivations, this is just one of the threats that cybersecurity specialists need to take into account.
The digital realm is increasingly becoming a battleground on which nations wage virtual warfare, with web-based services used to influence elections, proliferate propaganda, compromise infrastructures in foreign lands and many more things besides.
As such you can expect to see a great deal more cybersecurity careers crop up in the public sector, with governments investing taxpayer money in defending their digital borders and enacting their own cyber warfare tactics, all in the name of national security.
The intelligence community has already been comprehensively committed to this kind of action for some time now, but the allure of using the internet to run interference and resist acts of espionage attempted from elsewhere in the world will be bolstered in the 2020s.
This is not a trend fuelled by the ever-changing risks of the cybercriminal underworld, but rather as a result of the current lack of variety in terms of the kinds of employees that the cybersecurity industry currently attracts.
Insiders want to appeal to more women and people from minority backgrounds, encouraging them to take up careers in this area, not just to fill quotas but to bring fresh thinking to the table and create a more diverse, secure future for the whole planet.