Security Staff Acquisition & Development, Content

Cybersecurity Professionals: Overworked But Enjoying the Challenge

Here’s an IT job description: Cybersecurity professionals wanted. Thousands of open career opportunities. Training and certification provided. Excellent working conditions, benefits. Starting salary $50,000. Room for growth. High job satisfaction.

If that sounds too good to be true, statistics say it’s not. In fact, it may be underplaying the opportunity. In a new survey of 360 cybersecurity professionals, Farsight Security, which develops DNS threat intelligence technology, found that a near unanimous number found their jobs rewarding despite long hours. Moreover, nearly all plan to stay in the field.

The common thinking is that the job market for cybersecurity pros is suffering from a lack of skilled technicians because the number of qualified candidates isn’t enough to meet the demand. All true. But Farsight is introducing an additional factor -- the relationship between time on the job and job satisfaction. It appears as though cybersecurity pros ace that equation, too.

Cybersecurity Talent: Sticking Around

The Farsight study, which targeted information security professionals attending the Infosecurity Europe 2017 conference last week in London, revealed that 97 percent found their job rewarding and 85 percent planned to stay in the field. That despite some 57 percent conceding that they work weekends and 29 percent reported working 10 hours a day.

While it’s understood among cybersecurity pros that extended hours go along with the territory, 51 percent of the respondents said they had missed an important event due to a security related incident at work more than once. That's not usually a reassuring thing but in this case, they still liked their job no matter the inconvenience.

With nearly two million cybersecurity jobs left unfilled by 2022, it’s more than just a side note that cybersecurity pros are enthusiastic about their work with no plans to change course. Moreover, it’s good news for organizations fretting about filling the increasing number of open positions to address mushrooming cyber crime.

Feeling Comfortable

Once qualified, trained, skilled pros enter the field, the study’s findings suggest, they like what they see.

“Securing the Internet, our businesses and national infrastructure is one of the world's most critical challenges,” said Dr. Paul Vixie, Farsight CEO, co-founder and chairman. “Cybersecurity professionals work hard behind the scenes to avert disasters that we rarely hear about, and we need more like them."

Vixie said Farsight is committed to helping companies that are "shorthanded and under pressure. We are committed to helping the security industry attract and retain talented professionals."

Some IT companies are addressing the job gap from the ground up. In late May, IBM came up with a plan to address the root cause of 1.8 million standing security-related jobs going unfilled. The answer lies in next generation trade school education and new ways to view the talent pipeline, IBM said. The vendor said it plans to invest in alternative education models, such as a cybersecurity training program for millennials, that it expects will yield thousands of new qualified job candidates.

D. Howard Kass

D. Howard Kass is a contributing editor to MSSP Alert. He brings a career in journalism and market research to the role. He has served as CRN News Editor, Dataquest Channel Analyst, and West Coast Senior Contributing Editor at Channelnomics. As the CEO of The Viewpoint Group, he led groundbreaking market research.