If the respondents to the 2018 Interop/Information Week Salary Survey are on target, security expertise is the way to get ahead in IT.
When asked which skills they were currently learning or planned to learn in the coming year, 47% of the participants cited IT security, making it the most popular response by a wide margin. By comparison, only 35% selected the number two skill — cloud integration/management — and just 27% selected leadership skills, which ranked third.
Those answers aligned nicely with responses to a similar question. When asked which skills they believed would personally benefit their careers or salaries, IT security was again the number one vote-getter overall, chosen by 36% of respondents.
Interestingly, when the responses were broken down between managers and IT staff, the results were more nuanced. Managers said that leadership skills would be most valuable to their personal careers; IT security came in second. However, the percentage of managers who said they were studying or planning to study IT security was even higher than the number of staffers learning about security (48% and 45%, respectively).
Part of the reason why IT pros and managers are so eager to add security to their resumes may be that they see the high salaries that cybersecurity experts can command.
One cybersecurity professional who took part in the survey predicted, “Information security salaries will continue to increase due to the shortage of skilled workers. Without currently seeking a job, I still get contacted by recruiters on a daily basis. I have literally no worries about being able to find and retain employment right now.”
Another seconded that idea, saying, “I am in cybersecurity and have witnessed a big demand for experienced talent, especially those with a government security clearance.”
But a third noted that the field is more difficult to break into. “Employers seeking IT security skills are only hiring top-tier experienced personnel, making entry into security difficult, even though there is a huge demand for skilled employees,” he said.
Other respondents surmised that the increase in cyberattacks is also likely spurring demand for security professionals. One cybersecurity consultant said, “Salary trends should be upward due to the cyberwarfare we are involved in today. Most likely, complex problems will draw the properly-skilled staff to solve the problems we face.”
One of the other participants added, “Cybersecurity is becoming a concern, especially with employee awareness and IoT.”
Another reason why interest in security training is so high may be that responsibility for security is widespread throughout IT. More than half of respondents (51%) said that securing data and applications was critical to their jobs. That seemed particularly noteworthy given that only 3% of those surveyed said that they held CSO or security management positions.
If you’re one of the many IT professionals interested in learning more about cybersecurity, you might consider asking your employer to foot the bill. More than half of survey respondents (52%) said that they had attended company-paid training over the past 12 months.
And among those who paid for their training themselves, most found very affordable classes. More than half (53%) spent less than $500.
So if you’re looking to advance your career with new training, learning about IT security might be something to consider.
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