The demand for security professionals is real. On Dice.com, 15 percent of the more than 75K jobs are security positions. “Every year in the U.S., 40,000 jobs for information security analysts go unfilled, and employers are struggling to fill 200,000 other cyber-security related roles, according to cyber security data tool CyberSeek” (Forbes). We know that there is a fast-increasing need for security specialists, but that the interest level is low.

Security is the place to be

In my experience, few students coming out of college are interested in roles in security; so many people see security as niche. Entry-level tech pros are interested in business analyst or system analyst roles, because of a belief that if you want to learn and apply core IT concepts, you have to stick to analyst roles or those closer to product development. That’s simply not the case.

In fact, if you’re interested in getting in front of your business leaders, security is the place to be – as a security professional, you have to understand the business end-to-end; you have to look at the big picture to give your company the advantage.

Be fearless

Analyst and security roles are not all that different. Companies continue to merge engineering and security roles out of necessity. Businesses are moving faster than ever with infrastructure and code being deployed through automation, which increases the importance of security being a part of all tech pros day to day lives. In our Open Source Jobs Report with The Linux Foundation, 42 percent of hiring managers said professionals with security experience are in high demand for the future.

There has never been a more exciting time to be in security. If you stay up-to-date with tech news, you’ll see that a huge number of stories are related to security – data breaches, system failures and fraud. The security teams are working in ever-changing, fast-paced environments. A real challenge lies is in the proactive side of security, finding, and eliminating vulnerabilities while maintaining or even improving the end-user experience.

Growth is imminent

Of any aspect of tech, security is the one that will continue to grow with the cloud. Businesses are moving more and more to the cloud and that’s exposing more security vulnerabilities than organizations are used to. As the cloud matures, security becomes increasingly important.

Regulations are also growing – Personally Identifiable Information (PII) is getting broader all the time. Many companies are finding that they must invest in security to stay in compliance and avoid being in the headlines. Companies are beginning to budget more and more for security tooling and staffing due to the risk of heavy fines, reputational damage, and, to be honest, executive job security.

Training and support

Even if you don’t choose a security-specific role, you’re bound to find yourself needing to code securely, and if you don’t have the skills to do that, you’ll start fighting an uphill battle. There are certainly ways to learn on-the-job if your company offers that option, that’s encouraged but I recommend a combination of training, mentorship and constant practice. Without using your security skills, you’ll lose them fast with how quickly the complexity of malicious attacks evolve.

My recommendation for those seeking security roles is to find the people in your organization that are the strongest in engineering, development, or architecture areas – interface with them and other teams, do hands-on work, and be sure to keep the big-picture in mind. Be an asset to your organization that stands out – someone that can securely code and also consider strategy and overall infrastructure health.

The end game

More and more companies are investing in security and trying to fill open roles in their tech teams. If you’re interested in management, security is the place to be. Executive leadership wants to know that their company is playing by the rules, that their data is secure, and that they’re safe from breaches and loss.

Security that is implemented wisely and with strategy in mind will get noticed. Security is paramount for executives and consumers alike – I’d encourage anyone interested in security to train up and contribute.

Download the full 2017 Open Source Jobs Report now.

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