Let’s begin by crunching a few numbers.
- $81.6 billion – global spending on information security and services
- $2.1 trillion – estimated global cost of cybersecurity attacks through 2019
- $3.8 million – average cost of a data breach (globally)
- $6.5 million – average total cost of a data breach in U.S.
- 1,093 – total number of data breaches reported in 2016.
In recent years, both the public and private sectors have experienced major cybersecurity breaches. More than 80 percent of U.S. companies report that their systems have been successfully attacked in an attempt to steal, change, or make public important data. The results are staggering: lost money, lost jobs, and lost personal data.
The loss of personal data is particularly devastating, as data has become the world’s lifeblood. Finding and using cybersecurity professionals as a line of defense against cyber criminals has become critical for everyone, from the Department of Homeland Security and big box stores (Target) to tech giants (Apple) and small Mom and Pop businesses.
The unfortunate fact remains that the number of cyber criminals vastly outweighs the number of qualified cybersecurity professionals.
Whether you are going to college for the first time or headed back to school, consider the following three reasons why a cybersecurity career could be right for you:
- Job security
While many industries forecast reductions in their workforce, cybersecurity is headed in the opposite direction. The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that information security jobs are expected to increase by 37 percent though 2022 – that’s more than three times the average growth rate for all other occupations! Additionally, the cybersecurity job market is expected to grow from $75 billion in 2015 to $170 billion by 2020.
Job security is further guaranteed by the current shortage of cybersecurity professionals. Cisco reports that there were more than one million global job openings for cybersecurity professionals in 2016, with 20 percent of those remaining unfilled. Demand is expected to grow to six million by 2019.
Here in Ohio, there are currently 10,000 unfilled cybersecurity jobs. Cincinnati, Cleveland, and Columbus have the largest need, but cities such as Dayton, Akron, and Toledo also offer numerous opportunities for cybersecurity experts. So, who is hiring all of these workers? You might not think it, but companies including Amazon, IBM, Alliance Data, Oracle, Hyland, Teradata, and more all have offices in Ohio.
- High Pay
The average entry-level salary for an information security analyst is $88,000. Additional experience can help you move up that ladder fairly quickly, earning you higher pay and qualifying you for countless other jobs in the field. According to Rasmussen, getting a bachelor’s degree in information security qualifies you for nearly seven times more security jobs than having only an associate degree or no degree at all.
Furthermore, individuals with three to five years of information security experience are qualified for more than three times the number of jobs than those with fewer than two years of experience.
If you’re curious about the different types of cybersecurity careers available, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has the Cyber Seek tool that allows you to investigate the different careers and pathways.
- It’s important work
It can hardly be disputed that the service of cybersecurity professionals is crucial to our society. As our businesses, government, and personal lives take up more space in the digital arena, the amount of information susceptible to cybercrime continues to grow. The protection of that data is essential, and that’s where the services of cybersecurity professionals become so important.
In many ways, cybersecurity professionals serve the public in a manner similar to a local police force, protecting the public from online attacks, theft of personal data, and cyberterrorism. Such a career can be rewarding, purposeful, and beneficial to society as a whole.
There you have it – a career in cybersecurity can provide you job security, high pay, and a purposeful, service-oriented career. If this sounds like a good fit for you, then what should you do next?
If a cybersecurity degree or certification interests you, then you should investigate Ohio’s higher education institutions and the programs they offer. Ohio is proud to have 25 institutions with cybersecurity programs, 17 of which specialize in data analytics. We also have three institutions of higher education housing National Security Agency (NSA) Centers of Academic Excellence (CAEs) focused specifically on reducing vulnerabilities in the U.S. national information structure.
Visit their websites, compare their degree programs, and email a faculty member and/or admissions staff with your questions. Find the right fit for you, and get your career moving!
CYBER SECURITY PROGRAMS IN OHIO
AIR FORCE INSTITUTE OF TECHNOLOGY-GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING & MANAGEMENT
CLARK STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
COLUMBUS STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
EDISON STATE COMMUNITY COLLEGE
JAMES A RHODES STATE COLLEGE
KENT STATE UNIVERSITY AT KENT
OHIO STATE UNIVERSITY-MAIN CAMPUS
OWENS COMMUNITY COLLEGE
SINCLAIR COMMUNITY COLLEGE
STARK STATE COLLEGE
Cyber-Defense and Information Assurance (BA)
UNIVERSITY OF CINCINNATI
UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON
UNIVERSITY OF NORTHWEST OHIO
WRIGHT STATE UNIVERSITY