Security Skills Are In Demand

By Donald Sears  |  Posted 2010-01-31

Two recent Forrester research reports point to increased spending in security in 2010. What are the security skills companies need?

Forrester's research points to demands for the enterprise in network security, mobile systems, and device management and compliance. The insecurity of smartphones is of particular concern to small and medium-sized businesses.

Technology analyst David Foote of Foote Partners recently detailed some of the job and skills trends for 2010 based on his company's research in a podcast with ZDNet's Dana Gardner. Foote said certification demand for security has grown 2.9 percent since the beginning of the recession in 2007, while technology certification demand overall has dropped 6.5 percent.

We track the value of skills and premium pay for skills, and the only segment of IT that has actually gained value, since the recession started in 2007, is security, and it has been progressive. We haven't seen a downturn in its value in one quarter ...

We've asked people exactly what skills they're hiring, and they have given us this list: forensics, identity and access management, intrusion detection and prevention systems, disk file-level encryption solutions, including removable media, data leakage prevention, biometrics, Web content filters, VOIP security, some application security, particularly in small to medium-sized companies (SMBs), and governance, compliance, and audit, of course.

The public sector has been on a real tear. As you do, we get a lot of privileged information. One of the things that we have heard from a number of sources, I can't tell you the reason why, is that a lot of recruiting is happening in the private sector right now with the National Security Agency and Homeland Security -- in-the-trenches people.

I think there was a feeling that there weren't enough real deep technical, in-the-trenches kind of talent in security. There were a lot of policy people, but not enough actual talent. Because of the Cyber Security Initiative, particularly under the current administration, there has been a lot of hiring.

Foote Partners has been analyzing hiring and skills trends in technology since 1997.

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