Cybersecurity Skills Gap Increases, As Does Demand For Professionals

New cybersecurity skills gap analysis shows high employer demand for cybersecurity jobs

In a new Cybersecurity Skills Gap Analysis, the Workforce Intelligence Network for Southeast Michigan (WIN)—on behalf of the Advance Michigan Defense Collaborative (AMDC)—identified nearly 350,000 cybersecurity-related job postings nationally from July 2015 to June 2016. The study was conducted to better understand future workforce demands in the cybersecurity space. With employer demand for cybersecurity-related occupations increasing, identifying standards for this industry is essential for providing guidance for emerging skills needs and training.

WIN’s Cybersecurity Skills Gap Analysis report identified four categories of occupations among the cybersecurity workforce: frontline cybersecurity workers, cyber-sensitive service workers, physical security and access workers, and indirect cyber-related workers. Report researchers analyzed job postings to identify a broad set of occupations associated with all aspects of cybersecurity, including the development of software, testing, hardening, connectivity, business-related cyber roles, physical security, and general cybersecurity knowledge.

With nearly 7,000 total job postings in Michigan, WIN also identified 39 institutions offering programs, degrees, or training related to cybersecurity in the Advance Michigan area, including Clinton, Eaton, Genesee, Ingham, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Monroe, Oakland, St. Clair, Shiawassee, Washtenaw, and Wayne counties. In total, students can choose among more than 90 degree programs and 80 certification programs in this region. Standards to guide these programs will be critical in the future, as experts in the field believe specialized two-year degrees or certifications are often sufficient, when compared to the now required four-year degree or higher.

Of the nearly 350,000 total cybersecurity-related postings nationally, California reported the highest level of postings with over 45,000 online job advertisements, followed by Virginia, Texas, and New York, with over 20,000 postings in each state. Nearly 90 percent of postings required a bachelor’s degree or higher, and over 76 percent were for occupations in the frontline cybersecurity workers category, which consists of those working directly with the technical design and implementation of cybersecurity strategies. Despite the high demand, there were only 778,402 cybersecurity workers in the national workforce in 2016 and 13,520 cybersecurity workers in Michigan, which ranked 35th in the nation.

“It is essential that we understand employer demand in cybersecurity and identify standards for the occupations that are part of this industry,” said Lisa Katz, executive director of WIN. “We want to ensure access to necessary educational and training resources, as well as the future vitality of the cybersecurity field, which is critical to virtually every industry, from automated vehicles to banking and health care.”

The full Cybersecurity Skills Gap Analysis and more key findings from this report can be viewed at: