Demand for Cyber-security Analysts Rises as Threats Grow

A CompTIA study indicated that as businesses hone in on their cyber-security practices, they must gear up to navigate a complex hiring environment.

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The job title cyber-security analyst was the fastest-growing IT job last year--and the role is only expected to boost its presence in 2016, according to a CompTIA survey of 673 IT security companies.

The study indicated that as businesses hone in on their cyber-security practices, they must gear up to navigate a complex hiring environment if they want to secure qualified security talent once and for all.

The report also revealed cyber-security has moved to the forefront of organizations’ operational strategies and hiring, and described how organizations can snag and retain top-notch security talent despite today’s complex hiring environment.

"It’s always interesting to compare opinions across different segments of workers. Among C-suite executives, the research indicates there is a heavy focus on digital business transformation strategies," Tim Herbert, senior vice president of research and market intelligence at CompTIA, told eWEEK. "This may entail further leveraging data analytics to improve decision making, or automating routine processes through software-as-a-service applications to improve productivity."

In comparison, when CompTIA conducted an informal poll of 400 rank-and-file office workers last month, the top technology request for 2016 was a new computer, followed by a better user experience for existing office technology.

"This highlights the balancing act that many organizations face: the need to devote time and resources to driving innovation, while at the same time maintaining and supporting the core technology needs of workers," he explained.

Seth Robinson, senior director of technology analysis for CompTIA, noted one of the hottest trends, and one the security specialists should focus on, are skills around data security.

"As companies make greater use of new technology models--cloud and mobility are two examples--and data is traveling outside company walls more and more frequently, the importance of data security is growing rapidly," he said. "You see companies moving from just budgeting for antivirus and firewalls to some of these new tools, such as data loss prevention solutions."

CompTIA recommends using job posting data in conjunction with the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) data to get a more complete picture of labor dynamics for a given occupation category.

"We’re seeing more and more organizations marrying IT security to their business needs," James Stanger, senior director of product management for CompTIA, told eWEEK. "Security workers need to think much more like a business or a finance person."

He explained that as the traditional security perimeter has dissolved into the cloud, there is greater demand for hybrid skill sets that meld analytics, business and security.

"From the business perspective, it’s evaluating the amount of money we’re spending, [and] what critical business functions we’re able to protect," he said. "On the analytics side, it’s someone that can use the data of the organization to be predictive about the security breaches and faults that are likely to happen; trying to predict were an attack might come from or where a weak spot might be."