We keep hearing about the widening skills gap ravaging the Cybersecurity industry. Lack of qualified personnel is slowing its growth and affecting the security level of the customers. But most people outside the industry see these statistics and shrug. The cybersecurity industry is perceived as a very small, elitist segment of the tech market. Even to point of it being a niche industry.
Not just a technical industry
More than anything, it is synonymous with being super- technical industry. Most positions requiring previous experience as hackers or security analysts (from a military or intelligence background). And indeed the most sought-after positions are of those that require deep knowledge of cyber tools and techniques- Reverse engineering, low-level security developers and the like. These people are in such high demand that they can ask (and get) preposterous salaries. If an employee has an ever more specialized skillset, such as Mobile malware research, they are simply unreplaceable and firms try to lure them at any cost. So to an outsider with no previous it does not seem very appealing if you lack the technical background. But the truth is that like in any growing industry there are countless opportunities for employment, handsome compensation and personal and career growth.
In demand, non-technical positions in the cybersecurity industry
But the truth is that like in any growing industry there are countless opportunities for a multitude of talents, even non-technical ones. And from all these open positions 3 really stand out:
- Product manager
Every company we talk with is asking if we know good product people. We sure do- they work at the competitors. Cybersecurity being so diversified (nearly 150 product categories) requires a deep product understanding to deliver a working product to the end customer and assist the marketing and sales dept. to create a unique, distinguished product offering. Problem is- most technical people in the industry get paid so handsomely for their technical skills that they have no incentive to move to a product position, and outsider product manager usually lack sufficient cybersecurity knowledge required by companies. Nevertheless, talented product people with experience in enterprise software, intelligence, BI and big data products have much to contribute even to the most technical cyber company.
Sure, marketing people are needed in any startup or corporate, but in cybersecurity they are even more significant- being a really global industry, any startup just beginning to market its product is immediately faced with fierce completion from powerful, established players. You simply cannot shout louder than the industry behemoth, so you need to have very effective marketing skills to be able to grab some attention. And even then, there are countless other companies in your exact product category, so it’s all about brand awareness and establishing what makes the product better and unique. Marketing people with B2B experience in the technology worlds, especially from adjacent markets such as enterprise software, BI and analytics will find use for their talents.
- Presales/ Sales Support engineers
Assuming that the product people have created a decent product and that the marketing dept. was able to portray it as the “next-next” best thing, it is now time to sell it. Obviously salespeople are required but in my eyes in this industry they do not require any special skillset- they can easily migrate from enterprise SW sales, telco, storage and other tech industries. More specific roles are those of pre/post sales support engineers, that require deep technical understanding (but not necessarily in the cyber domain), the ability and motivation to support customers and solve problems and work closely with the sales and marketing teams.
Even is the cybersecurity industry seems monolithic and impenetrable for an outsider, there are many opportunities to consider. Once inside the eco-system it is easy to switch positions and grow porfessionaly.
One could argue this is the right time to board the cybersecurity career train – it’s a relatively safe bet that it will be here an growing even a decade from today.