Alan Paller is the director of research with the cyber-training school SANS Institute.  Robert Rodriguez is the Chairman of the Security Innovation Network and a senior advisor to the Chertoff Group.  These two people were among several cybersecurity experts interviewed recently by Bloomberg Businessweek (“Life in Cyberia”).

Two observations particularly impressed me.  First, the United States may be lacking a robust supply of highly skilled cybersecurity professionals relative to other nations such as China and Russia.  This translates to an increased vulnerability in our cybersecurity.  Paller addresses this and gives some numbers for comparison:

“The people who do the work that you’re talking about [cybersecurity] are very skilled people.  We’re not producing them.  There is no pipeline for them right now.  The last book on this, Joel Brenner’s book [America the Vulnerable], said 30,000 in the PLA, 150,000 in the militia available.  Our best numbers at that skill level are 1,000.”

Second (and this is far better news than the first observation), this state of affairs in cyberspace means anyone planning a career in cybersecurity will likely enjoy high demand.  Rodriguez emphasizes the need has never been greater:

“There’s an opportunity here.  I’ve heard there’s 1 percent unemployment in the cyber security domain, maybe even zero.  There’s a great opportunity to drive awareness to the challenge, and with corporate captains starting to pay more attention to the theft of intellectual property, to not lose the innovative, competitive advantage that we have as a nation.”

I agree with Rodriguez.  From a career planning perspective, if you need any additional positive guidance to take the plunge into cybersecurity, I think you have it.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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