Flip the Script and Begin Your Cyber Career

By Joe Jakubielski

Fear and doomsday predictions fill the news, and there is a lot of material to work with: war in Ukraine, Russian hacking threats, economic downturns, and skyrocketing gas prices. What if there is a bright side?

Insider recently reported 3 warning signs of a US economic downturn for 2022, one of which is a smaller available labor pool. When employers are looking to hire, their options are limited; they’re forced to compete with one another using higher wages, raises, and more. While Insider lists this as a concern for our economic future as it could drive inflation up, the silver lining is what many of us are looking for: an opportunity for a career change.

Let’s throw some more bad news in the mix. The Russian conflict with Ukraine has moved past Eastern European borders through cyberwarfare. We know this by now. In fact, small and medium-sized businesses are specifically targeted in these cyberattacks. But the flip side? A perfect opportunity to change careers and go into cybersecurity.

An article Reuters published last week puts it this way: “’It’s a blazing hot market, and all the more insane with Russia waging cyber war — but even before that, the demand was there,’ says Jack Kelly, CEO of The Compliance Search Group, a recruitment firm for compliance professionals. ‘It’s a huge, important area and there is a big gap [between] jobs that need to be filled and people available.’” Not only is the job market favoring the employee for once, but the cybersecurity field—new, exciting, and constantly evolving—is itself desperate for new talent.

Now is the moment to change careers and go into cybersecurity. Even if doomsday predictions come true, the economy plummets, and monkeypox is the new pandemic, it will serve you well to have a wider skillset…and the need for cyber professionals is not going to leave any time soon. Without taking away too much from our review dropping Tuesday of Verizon’s 2022 Data Breach Investigations, we will just mention that they found a reported 7,013 instances of system intrusion (with 1,999 of those resulting in confirmed data disclosure) this last year.

With their typical style, the Verizon team defines a system intrusion as an “Advanced Persistent Threat (APT) or some other form of capable actor moving across the environment popping shells, dropping malware, dumping creds and doing all the fun stuff you would expect from an unexpected Red Team exercise” (p. 25). This is bad news unless we have men and women who rise to the challenge and take a chance on entering a new field. Whether you come from a background in marketing, own a small business (like I did), or are a recent graduate trying to find your next step, the need and the opportunity are here—are you?

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