How to Fix Cybersecurity and Network Engineering Skills Gap

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Written By Ishika Chauhan

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At the end of 2021, there were 3.5 million cybersecurity positions unfilled. This left America's networks open to attack. Companies need to have a fresh perspective on how they train IT talent in order to stop hackers.

This starts with network engineers, say Terry Kim and Jacob Hiss (Co-founders and Founders of NGT Academy).

A hacker attacks on average every 39 seconds in America. He targets business infrastructures, customers, as well as private citizens. What is at risk? Virtually anything that operates on a digital platform, such as medical records, bank transactions, and social security numbers, can be compromised or stolen.

IT engineers and cybersecurity analysts are in high demand. Yet, 3.5 million jobs in cyber were unfilled by 2021. This is enough to fill 50 NFL Stadiums. Information Technology will be the second-fastest growing career field in 2022. It's predicted that it will grow 22 percent by the end of this decade with over 300,000 unfilled jobs in the U.S. This huge vacancy is a sign of the need to train more talent in this area.

Over 50 billion devices log on to the internet each day and more are connected every day. This huge attack surface is a problem. America's networks are now more vulnerable than ever, and its guardians are becoming less scarce.

The Threat

Companies of all sizes are vulnerable to digital attacks, but smaller businesses are more at risk. Data breaches will affect more than half of small businesses. Of those that are targeted, however, only 28% of them will be experienced.

60% will close their doors within six months The average cost of repairing damages to property is $200,000 for those who survive.
These diverse attacks can also impact everyday Americans negatively, with 1 in 3 Americans being affected by cyber-attacks each year.

Although phishing emails and stolen passwords may seem minor, their consequences can be serious. Cybercriminals can use data breaches to open new credit cards, sell victims' social security numbers, or hijack victims' airline miles.

America's networks require digital saviors, highly skilled IT workers who can support them as they grow and develop, create cybersecurity components that monitor and prevent threats, and defend against the ever-changing world of cybercrime. However, many of these aspiring cyber professionals have not received training.

The Glaring Skills Gap

It's predicted that by 2025, it will be 85 million people Digitization will cause job displacement or job disruption. More than 97 million new jobs will be created simultaneously, including those in data science and machine learning.
Investors are investing in cyber-skilled professionals as the demand for them grows exponentially. Global IT spending is expected to reach $4.5 trillion by 2022.

However, funding these workers also means addressing the large skills gap many IT professionals face.

Get Into EdTech

EdTech combines technology and education to help students learn quickly and increase their skills. It also maintains industry standards and certifications that are essential for success. This can be a powerful tool for anyone looking to pivot in the workplace, or for employers looking to provide a way for employees to expand their knowledge.

On-The-Job Training

On-the-job training can be a good option for those who are already employed and want to increase their skills.

This type of training can include mentor relationships, job shadowing, or cross-training between coworkers.

You can also get on-the-job training to help you attract new talent or enter a new industry. This makes it easy to find these opportunities by simply searching on job sites like Indeed and LinkedIn.

Ladders might be a good search engine for job hunters who have management experience, while Scouted may be more suitable for recent college graduates.

To get a better idea, you can look at Training magazine’s Training Top 100 List. It recognizes those organizations that provide high-quality employee training and professional development.

Pro - Learn and build your resume

Con - Employee trainers might be ineffective

Paid Training in Cybersecurity

If you are looking for a niche tech job, an apprenticeship or residency might be the best option. Apprentices are paid to learn and get experience in a particular trade. The program is usually one to six years long and often registered with a federal agency.

Visit to find vetted opportunities for paid training. Or, you might try CareerOneStop where you can search by school, occupation, or program. The U.S. Department of Labor offers Job Corps, which is a residential job training program that offers taxpayer-funded accommodation, free health care, and a living allowance to low-income applicants between 16 and 24.

Job Corps students receive technical training in IT fields and job placement assistance at the completion of the program.

Pro: A hands-on learning experience that doesn't require student debt

Con: Competitive application process

Online Skills Training

A network engineering foundation is the core of cybersecurity professionals' skills. This includes learning how to create and implement network configurations as well as troubleshooting and improving network activity. Online learning is a great way to increase job readiness and speed up training. It can also reduce the time it takes to complete training.

You can access world-class online programs to help you find the right program to suit your career and interests. Or, take your skills to the next step with real-world case studies or military training.

Pro: Fast-track, flexible learning

Con: Self-discipline is required and motivation

The Right Creative Approach

The best training options for your company or organization require you to consider your needs, goals, and financial resources. It might be best to consider a government-funded apprenticeship through Job Corps.

Are you looking to increase your income with a new IT job? NGT Academy offers online training programs that could help you land the job of your dreams in network engineering and cybersecurity.

There is a high demand for cybersecurity analysts and network engineers, and this is increasing. This critical shortage must be filled and the skill gap closed for those who want to enter the IT industry can only be solved by creative approaches to training and equipping these workers.

Part 2 of this series will examine the differences between these nontraditional educational methods and traditional four-year college degrees.

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