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In July 2016, Intel Security and the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) released Hacking the Skills Shortage, a report outlining the talent shortage across the cybersecurity industry worldwide.  Find out what the demand is for entry level Cyber Security jobs and Cyber Security Executive roles are as there continues to be a shortage of qualified candidates and surplus of unfilled positions.

It is good news for chief information security officers, IT managers, corporate boards and anyone responsible for the integrity of IT systems, corporate intellectual property and customer data, and even greater news for aspiring cybersecurity professionals.

The survey results suggest they’re unlikely to ever be out of work, as there are far more cybersecurity jobs available than skilled professionals to fill them.

Higher Qualifications in High Demand Even for Entry Level Cyber Security Jobs

However this survey, and others, showed significant demand and better prospects for more highly qualified cybersecurity professionals. Almost half the companies surveyed see a bachelor’s degree in a relevant technical subject as the minimum requirement for entry level cyber security jobs.

Another survey, Job Market Intelligence: Cybersecurity Jobs, 2015, conducted by Burning Glass Technologies, put the figure much higher, at 84 percent, and it also found that 23 percent of employers demand master’s degrees from their candidates.

The Intel and CSIS study concluded: “Demand for cybersecurity professionals is outpacing the supply of qualified workers in all countries surveyed. This conclusion is supported by market studies, our survey results and the significant salary premiums commanded by cybersecurity professionals.”

The Higher Your Qualifications, the More You Earn Even for Entry Level Cyber Security Jobs, Higher for Those With Experience

A report from the SANS Institute, Cybersecurity Professional Trends found those premiums rising in line with a cybersecurity professional’s educational attainments.

“Respondents holding bachelor’s degrees and seven to 10 years’ of experience command average incomes in excess of $100,000 annually; those with more advanced degrees achieve this level of pay sooner,” the report said. Average salary for those with master’s degrees and four to six years’ experience was $97,109 — some $13,000 ahead of those with the same experience and only a bachelor’s degree.

To learn more about your possible education pathways, read our article Major in Cybersecurity or Specialize in Cybersecurity: What are My Options?

Reaching the Top Needs Technical Expertise, and More

For cybersecurity professionals, as with many other roles, career advancement to the highest echelons requires more than technical skills. As the SANS Institute report says: “Employers don’t just seek specific technical skills when they are hiring… For those working to improve their careers or keep the jobs they love, soft skills are critical.”

Such soft skills include leadership skills, communication skills, interpersonal skills and industry contribution or involvement.

The leading educational institutions recognize that leadership in any field requires more than discipline-specific skills and are crafting their cybersecurity master’s programs accordingly.

Why Hiring Managers Look for Soft Skills

David Notch, director of KPMG LLP’s cyber practice in Minneapolis, previously served as a chief information security officer for a Fortune 250 company, so he understands what leaders and hiring managers are looking for.

“In many cases, the problem isn’t a lack of technical skills but an ability to fully understand and explain the nature of various threats and to take the appropriate steps to mitigate the risks to the organization,” Notch writes.

Notch believes these communication skills are vital for today’s cybersecurity professional: “When C-Suite executives and board members receive a presentation laden with technical jargon, the urgency of the message is often lost. The ability to take a cyber issue within the business and translate that back into how it might negatively affect the business’s reputation, customers, vendors and stakeholders is critically important.”

Building these soft skills and deep technical knowledge will be an essential education for every cybersecurity professional. To start this journey for yourself, review our education section and find the right cybersecurity degree for you.