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Threat of Data Breaches Creates Lucrative Opportunities in Cybersecurity

The unblinking vigilance required to protect data systems is creating opportunity for job seekers and entrepreneurs.
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Cybersecurity is a hot industry. The need to protect our digital infrastructure and sensitive data is at an all-time high.

Cybersecurity regulations and policies are evolving quickly as the frequency and magnitude of targeted cyber-attacks increases. Cybersecurity demands smart, talented and creative minds. These skilled workers are increasingly in demand. Plenty of Fortune 500 companies are on the hunt to hire cybersecurity experts in newly-elevated positions and for their boards. But it’s difficult to find the talent these days.

Let’s explore the opportunities, benefits and what it takes to be successful in this field.

Related: Fertile Ground for Startups: 10 Sectors of the $207 Billion Cyber-Security Industry Poised to Take Off

In a recent Network World article, “Cybersecurity Skills Haves and Have Nots," Jon Oltsik noted that 25 percent of organizations claim that they have a problematic shortage of IT security skills. Looking across various industries, 36 percent of government agencies say they have a problematic shortage of IT security skills, followed by 29 percent of manufacturing companies and 28 percent of financial services firms.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that cybersecurity jobs are expected to grow 53 percent by 2018. The number of postings for cybersecurity positions doubled in 2013 alone.

For job seekers that means generous salaries. According to Glassdoor, the national average salary for a product manager is $100,000, while a cybersecurity product manager can take home $130,000. The national average engineer salary is $70,000, while cybersecurity engineers can make as much as $145,000.

Too few of those entering into the workforce are seeking jobs in cybersecurity, possibly because of the lack of college programs that incoming students don't know to demand. A survey found that 82 percent of 18-to-26-year olds were never told in high school of the opportunities in cybersecurity. Chances are, though, they or someone they know has been affected by a cybersecurity breach.

Related: Cyber Security a Growing Issue for Small Business

The need is obvious and this job market is secure. Every organization in every industry needs a cybersecurity strategy. Cyber threats and attacks are becoming more targeted and advanced with each passing day. The people who embrace challenge and are eager to learn about new technologies will thrive. I can say from experience there are exciting, rewarding opportunities in the challenge of protecting an organization's infrastructure and the people inside it.

Cybersecurity careers are often overlooked due to a lack of understanding about the field but I’m hoping the increased visibility it has received over the past year will prompt the generation entering the workforce to consider this field more.

The rapid pace at which technology is evolving makes it difficult to predict the relevance of specific technologies even five years from now, much less 10 or 20, but one thing is for certain. Cybersecurity is here to stay.

Related: A Lack of Communication on Cyber Security Will Cost Your Business Big (Infographic)