Why a career in cybersecurity will benefit next generation
Sunday, 07 November, 2021
Providing additional educational platforms for students and future generations to learn and expand their knowledge in the cybersecurity field will be crucial to thrive in a digitally-connected ecosystem
In early October 2021, a programming error from Facebook, along with WhatsApp and Instagram, went down for six hours causing a substantial fall in shares for the stock market.
On May 7, 2021, Colonial Pipeline, the largest petroleum pipeline company in the US, was the target of a ransomware attack and was forced to shutdown its major pipelines for a whole day. In the weeks preceding the attack, Colonial Pipeline was trying to fill two security leadership positions.
In July 2021, a sophisticated new malware, the Pegasus, infected more than 50,000 smart phones of journalists, head of states, ministers and prime ministers. This malware is so sophisticated that only a very few institutions have the knowledge and ability to detect it and remove it.
These are just three examples of the increasing importance of cybersecurity and the current shortage of cybersecurity professionals.
Closer to home, in the UAE, the Projects of the 50 announcements by the UAE leadership showcase the nation’s ambitious digital roadmap, and as technology evolves and becomes more creative, so does the need for enhanced cybersecurity. This raises an important question: what is the answer to mitigate this growing concern as we become increasingly interconnected?
Filling the job gap
With huge advancements in technology across multiple sectors, cybersecurity is being prioritised as the next hurdle to tackle, particularly with the region’s 250 percent increase in cyberattacks in 2020, according to Mohamed al-Kuwaiti, head of UAE Government Cybersecurity. There is an increasing need for more cybersecurity professionals in all activity sectors for the UAE and the Middle East and developing the next generation is key to reversing this uptick in attacks.
But according to ISC, there is currently a worldwide shortage of more than 3.12 million jobs in cybersecurity, and the State of Cybersecurity 2021 report, from ISACA, doesn’t bode well for the MENA region either, with a current deficit of 300,000 jobs.
How universities can help
Forming a key part of filling the gap for cybersecurity roles in the region are universities, with a huge onus placed on programs in computer science and engineering degrees to drive employment opportunities.
In most organisations throughout the world, a university degree is required for entry-level positions in cybersecurity. A career in computer science provides you with the fundamental theoretical and hands-on skills to be a successful cybersecurity professional.
In positions such as a cybersecurity architect, cybersecurity auditor, cybersecurity software developer, and vulnerability assessor, you will be able to design systems that thwart potential cybersecurity attacks, assess how digitally secure an enterprise is, and use your skills to advise enterprises in enhancing the protection of their information assets.
While this is just a handful of positions available within the cybersecurity sector, equipping students for the place of work can also provide many financial benefits for employers, such as reducing cybercrime costs.
According to Cybersecurity Ventures, in its Cyberwarfare in the C-Suite 2021 report, it expects cybercrime costs to grow by 15 percent per year over the next five years, reaching $10.5 trillion annually by 2025, up from $3tr in 2015.
While we are becoming more technology efficient, we are more vulnerable to attacks. Providing additional educational platforms for students and future generations to learn and expand their knowledge in the cybersecurity field will be crucial to thrive in a digitally connected ecosystem.