The most in-demand cybersecurity skills in 2022

Cybersecurity has been and continues to be a huge concern for almost all organizations. Every day there is an increasing number of business operations that happen online – across all industries. With that comes a surge of bad actors, hackers and cybercriminals trying to breach integral and encrypted systems to steal sensitive data. The scale of such breaches and attacks varies, but all of them have the potential to make a detrimental impact on business operations. Consequences of such an impact can vary, but monumental financial and legal implications for the organization, its employees and even its customers are among the most concerning. In fact, in IBM's latest data breach report, published in 2021, they calculated the average cost of a breach to be about $4.24 million. Now, more than ever, cybersecurity professionals are needed across every industry to help secure and remediate cyber threats.

With technology improving year-over-year, new systems being developed and organizations choosing to implement new processes regularly, this leaves a decent amount of room for new and unknown vulnerabilities to crop up – many of which may go unnoticed for extended periods of time. The fast-paced nature of information technology combined with the increasing shortage of IT and cybersecurity professionals leaves a lot to be desired across many IT departments around the globe.

With those things in mind, we've compiled a list of five of the most in-demand cybersecurity skills for this year, 2022. If you're interested in the cybersecurity space, acquiring these skills may help you get a head start in your career; all the while making a direct and meaningful impact on those you'll serve as a cybersecurity professional.

On to the list:

Computer code
While all disciplines of cybersecurity are important, advancements in certain areas of technology call for specialized skillsets.

1. Penetration testing and threat modeling

Penetration testing is exactly what it sounds like. It's the practice of regularly testing an organization's network infrastructure to locate and remediate any vulnerabilities in the design of its security architecture. Threat modeling involves identifying and communicating common risks and threat agents associated with certain applications or processes so that a solution can be developed for a specific use case. Both skills are extremely important within the scope of cybersecurity, and individuals from each specialty often work closely together.

2. Cloud security

Increasingly, organizations are implementing digital transformation strategies that are seeing more frequent use of cloud-based tools and applications as part of their overall business infrastructure. For context, here's a great list of some of the most common uses for cloud computing today. The benefits and freedoms that cloud-based applications grant are fantastic. However, they also come with a set of security risks and challenges that are different to those that come with other types of software products. Because of that, cloud-based applications require a specific set of skills in order to tackle the challenges, so anyone well-versed in cloud security is an increasingly valuable member of their cybersecurity team.

3. Security architecture

Much in the same way that structural architecture forms a foundation and layer of protection for people within a building, security architecture is the base on which an organization's cybersecurity platform is built. It serves to be the first line of defense against internal and external cyber threats, and building an effective one takes expert level cybersecurity knowledge. If something is wrong with the foundation, things elsewhere in the design will likely start showing issues – which may be critical.

4. DevSecOps

DevSecOps is an industry-wide acronym that stands for development, security and operations. Through automation, DevSecOps teams help to deliver secure code and software quickly throughout a development process. They understand the importance of a holistic approach to security and use that knowledge to more evenly distribute resources across IT.

5. Ethical hacking

Ethical hacking is something that organizations are starting to take advantage of in an attempt to better protect their important data. Just as an unethical hacker or cybercriminal would use malicious tools and tactics to try and gain access to encrypted data, ethical hackers do the same but with express consent from the organization that they're working for. The role of an ethical hacker is a bit more intimate than that of the aforementioned penetration tester, wherein they are free to use whatever strategies they desire to carry out a breach attempt. Ethical hackers help organizations get a better grasp on and understanding of current hacking strategies used by criminals. Throughout that process, ethical hackers help organizations patch up holes in their security infrastructure to become more resilient to these types of attacks.

With cybersecurity professionals in such short supply, these skills just brush the surface of what IT departments around the globe are currently looking for. If you're educated in cybersecurity, chances are there's a position out there waiting for you that would greatly benefit – and appreciate – your expertise.

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