Cybersecurity: Do You Have The Necessary Skills? Part I.  

Data breaches or network vulnerabilities will only keep increasing in the future. Consequently, cybersecurity experts are more in demand than ever. This is especially true for employers and states looking for professionals being able to “not only maintain firewalls”, but with advanced knowledge, experience and technical experience. In 2016, 46 percent of organizations claimed not to have enough experts with the desired skills. However, becoming an expert in the cybersecurity field seems to be more difficult to achieve than previously thought. It is such a broad sector/sphere/discipline that it can be overwhelming to find the right path. What does it take? What skills are needed? Which certifications are the best?









The gap between supply and demand of cybersecurity experts can leave the computers, data, and networks unprotected. A study called “Hacking the Skills Shortage” by IntelSecurity, in partnership with Center for Strategic and International Studies, looked at the international shortage in cybersecurity skills. Their survey was conducted in the US, Germany, Japan, Australia, France, Mexico, Israel, and the United Kingdom. These are all quite diverse countries by income or political structures. But the findings were homogenous. 82 % of respondents in all researched countries reported a shortage of cybersecurity skills. An overwhelming 71 % of them even stated that this situation has direct and measurable damage. For example, this makes their companies “more desirable hacking targets”.

Cybersecurity Programs and Certification Courses

3 out of 4 professional believe that the governments in their countries do not sufficiently support “educational institutions in creating cybersecurity talent” or “do not have satisfactory laws and regulations”. Because many schools have very general curriculums for cybersecurity degrees, additional certification courses, self-taught skills, or hands-on experience count.

These degrees are important for having a career in the cybersecurity field:

  • IT
  • Cyber security
  • Computer science
  • Forensic computing
  • Network engineering
  • Networks and security
  • Mathematics, physics or other STEM subjects

Although many experts would say that certification is not the most important part of cybersecurity education, some would say otherwise. However, certification alone is not a sufficient substitution for professional experience, education or knowledge. While these certifications do not necessarily guarantee a job offer, it raises prospects of being employed.

These certifications are among the most valued for cybersecurity experts:

  • CompTIA Security+
  • CISSP (Certified Information Systems Security Professional)
  • Cisco CCNA (Cisco Certified Network Associate Routing & Switching)
  • CEH (Certified Ethical Hacker)
  • GSEC (SANS GIAC Security Essentials) or
  • CISM (Certified Information Security Manager)

Cybersecurity Skills in Demand

Those with highly technical skills, such as the ability to detect intrusion, secure software development, or attack migration are in high demand,  compared to those with softer skills, such as the ability to collaborate, manage a team, or communicate effectively. Above all, these specialists are needed:

  • cloud security specialist are needed (33 % shortage)
  • network security specialists (28 %)
  • security analysts (27 %)
  • data security specialists (26 %)

To be continued: Do you have what it takes? Soft versus technical skills – Part II.