Cybersecurity experts are in-demand, but shortage in talent gap is growing exponentially

Cyber attacks. Hacking. Ransomware. Spear phishing. Cryptojacking. The cybersecurity field has no shortage of “excitement.” With the increase in cyber attacks and data breaches across the country, cybersecurity continues to be one of today’s hottest technology career paths. According to a recent article in TechRepublic, the three most in-demand jobs in cybersecurity are penetration testers, cybersecurity engineers, and chief information security officers (CISOs). Given the need, companies are willing to pay well for cybersecurity skills, with salaries growing nearly as fast as data breaches.

With demand outpacing talent, there is a critical shortage of trained cybersecurity professionals. Right now, Oregon has more than 3,000 unfilled cybersecurity job openings, with approximately 285,000 unfilled cybersecurity job openings in the U.S. TechRepublic notes that this field is expected to reach 1.8 million jobs by 2022.

Training the next generation of tech experts

By encouraging our youth to pursue careers in cybersecurity and technology, we are enabling a win-win scenario for students as well as the companies that will benefit from their expertise. Collectively, we need to start training the next generation of tech experts!

Three years ago, I co-founded NW Cyber Camp (formerly known as PDX Cyber Camp) with my teenage daughter Amelia as a way for her to explore technology and gets hands on training. What began as one week-long summer camp for high schooler students to get immersed into cybersecurity, the camps have grown rapidly because of interest and demand.

This year, we are holding five simultaneous cyber camps across the state of Oregon, including a girls-only camp. The goals of the camps are to give students hands-on, introductory experience to cybersecurity principles and policies, help students gain confidence and learn valuable skills, and prepare them for a future tech career.

NW Cyber Camp will take place July 16 through July 20, 2018. If you know of students who are interested in learning more about cybersecurity and the many exciting career opportunities in this growing field, please encourage them to apply early before the camps fill up: https://www.nwcyber.camp/. Camp locations:

  • Girls Only, Franklin High School, 5405 SE Woodward Street, Portland
  • Co-Ed, Center for Advanced Learning, 1484 NW Civic Drive., Gresham
  • Co-Ed, Mentor Graphics, 8005 Boeckman Road, Wilsonville
  • Co-Ed, Central Oregon Community College, 2600 NW College Way, Bend
  • Co-Ed, Oregon State University, Corvallis

It takes a cybersecurity village

An indication that camp is heading in the right direction is the strong outpouring of support from students, schools, professionals, educators, and companies. NW Cyber Camps are taught by leading industry professionals and cybersecurity educators from across our state. Camps include guest speakers from industry leading companies such as IBM, McAfee, Iovation, and Cylance. This year, there will be an evening networking reception on Thursday, July 19 where students and parents can talk one-to-one with local cybersecurity professionals and businesses to discuss career opportunities and potential internships.

Last summer’s girls-only cyber camp filled up quickly and as reported by KOIN 6 News (see video below) introduced a number attendees to cybersecurity for the first time. Based on this success, we are running another girls-only camp this year. It will feature female guest speakers and instructors to provide an inclusive and tailored program for young women interested in STEM careers. According to Andrea Little Limbago, chief social scientist at Endgame and contributor to Quora and Forbes, getting women into cybersecurity is a pipeline problem, “There are more and more programs aimed at getting girls and women into security, and these must continue and seem to be sparking interest in the field, so that is positive progress.”

NW Cyber Camp 2018 is made possible by several leading companies including Title Sponsor PacStar. Additional sponsors include Platinum Sponsors Galois, HP, IBM, Iovation, McAfee, Umpqua Bank Charitable Foundation, and PKI Solutions; and Gold Sponsor Cylance. NW Cyber Camp 2018 is a program organized and managed by EnergySec., Inc.

Please help us spread the word about this valuable camp. For more information about the camps and to apply, please visit: https://www.nwcyber.camp/

Charlie Kawasaki

Author: Charlie Kawasaki, PacStar

Charlie Kawasaki is Chief Technical Officer for PacStar where he is responsible for leading the company’s technology strategy and future product roadmap for its proprietary product lines.