IT Security Professionals Are So Hot Right Now

IT security professionals are in high demand in Australia as organisations step up efforts to protect their data and IT infrastructure. The only problem is there aren’t enough security professionals to fill the new roles that are being created. We take a closer look at the current security employment landscape.

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At the end of last year, executive search firm CTP Partners predicted that cybersecurity positions will be one of the new in-demand roles for 2015. Fast forward a year and we’ve seen a myriad of major security breaches in the last 12 months, with the most recent one involving VTech where information on millions of customer was compromised. The hack was a result of poorly secured servers and led to untold reputational damage for VTech. These incidents have scared organisations into action, spurring them to invest more in IT security, leading to more jobs in this field.

Just this week 400 IT security jobs were created as part of a new cyber security headquarters for the National Broadband Network in Melbourne. Many other companies are also seeking to snap up top security talent in response to the changing IT security threat landscape. It’s a sign that the higher ups in organisations have recognised the importance of protecting their IT infrastructure and are willing to assign budget to hiring security professionals.

In the last twelve months, the number of cybersecurity roles advertised in Australia has grown by more than 60 per cent, according to research by online employment marketplace SEEK. This is supported by white collar recruitment firm Hays’ Quarterly Report:

In terms of skills in demand for the October to December 2015 quarter, we’re seeing high demand for Security Engineers. In response to the increasing levels of security threats, including data theft and virus risks, businesses of all sizes are looking to secure their systems and information. The increase in security is also the result of wireless trends and businesses opting for cloud based solutions.

Hays senior regional director Peter Noblet predicts the demand for security professionals will continue to increase well into 2016.

“Firewall experts, cyber security specialists, security engineers and those with particular certifications namely CISSP and CISMs will see demand for their skills increase in 2016,” he said in a statement to Lifehacker Australia.

The problem is there are a lack of skilled workers able to fill those security roles. The Seek research showed that within the technology industry, cybersecurity roles are the most difficult for employers to fill, even if those jobs pay very well.

The skills shortage in the IT security space has inspired organisations to take action. The Commonwealth Bank has teamed up with the University of New South Wales to develop a centre of expertise for cybersecurity education. The $1.6 million five-year partnership aims to boost the number of security engineering professionals in Australia by offering specialised online courses through Open Learning.

“This partnership will help drive the pipeline of professionals needed to support Australia’s growing digital economy. It will also build Australia’s capability for teaching security engineering and establish and share an up-to-date curriculum,” UNSW associate professor in computer security and cybercrime Richard Buckland said. “This is about raising the bar for cybersecurity education across the nation.”

Is your organisation currently looking to increase its IT security headcount? Are you a security professional who is looking for a job right now? Let us know about your experiences in the comments.

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