Embattled by hactivists, cyber criminals and foreign rivals seeking to steal proprietary information, U.S. corporations are ramping up their hiring of cyber security experts, with open jobs reaching an all-time high in April.
The need for cyber security experts spans all industries, from financial services, manufacturing and utilities to healthcare and retail. Among the major U.S. companies trying to fill cyber security-related positions are Boeing, Baylor Health Care System, Verisign and Office Depot.
Cyber security jobs also are plentiful in the U.S. federal government market. For example, the Energy Department's Idaho National Lab is seeking a senior cyber security researcher to support its lead nuclear research and development facility.
The number of cyber security-related job openings listed on the Dice.com website for IT professionals rose significantly in April 2012 compared to a year ago. The biggest increase was for cyber security specialists, which rose 74 percent with 920 open job listings. U.S. companies also are hiring thousands of network security, information security, and application security experts.
"Every year, threats go up, so every year companies increase investment in security,'' says Tom Silver, senior vice president of North America for Dice. "On Dice, information security jobs reached an all-time high last month ... Companies want security professionals to counter breaches and also anticipate gaps, suggesting measures to fill them. Protection is key.''
Several trends are driving the demand for cybersecurity experts. Companies have increasingly complex networks, more transactions to process, and more data than ever. They're using cloud applications such as Salesforce and Taleo, which extends their need for information security outside the perimeter of their networks. Additionally, they're dealing with a flood of user-owned mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets.
The cyber security skills needed three years ago compared to now "is a whole different ballgame," says Sudhir Verma, vice president of consulting services and project management at Force 3, a Crofton, Md., government contractor that is hiring several senior engineers, solutions architects and analysts for its security team.
"Three years ago, the iPad was not in play. Now we're hiring experts in our practice who understand the bring-your-own-device and consumerization trends,'' Verma says. ``Everything is in flux with the move to the cloud and mobile devices. It's no longer about managing firewalls for IT security. It's beyond that. It's about how to protect information in the enterprise in an environment that includes cloud applications and tablets.''