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Top Cybersecurity Skills for 2021

December 30, 2020



With cybercrime constantly on the rise, businesses around the world are suffering attacks that prove to be costly, leading to loss of revenue and customer trust. The fight against hackers begins with professional expertise. Cybersecurity workers must constantly reinvent their skill sets to keep the pace with the latest trends. As the long list of required security skills continues to grow, here are the top cybersecurity skills for 2021.

Application Development Security

According to a report by Burning Glass entitled “The Fastest-Growing Cybersecurity Skills”, the fastest-growing cybersecurity skill for the next few years is estimated to be application development security with a five-year projected growth rate of 164%.   

Application security is the best defense against malicious cyber intent. To build a healthy digital business, implementing the best practices for secure application development is a must.

Cloud Security

Digital business transformation has entered a more challenging and urgency-driven phase because of the COVID-19 pandemic. According to a recent report, the global cloud computing market size is expected to grow from USD 371.4 billion in 2020 to USD 832.1 billion by 2025, expanding at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 17.5% during the forecast period.

With over 90% of organizations worldwide using cloud services, s their cloud security and develop strategies to protect their data. The five-year projected growth rate for this skill is 115%.

Risk Management

The most effective way to protect your sensitive data is to adopt a risk-based approach to cybersecurity. A risk-based approach means implementing policies based on your company’s unique risk profile, thus avoiding the waste of time and money addressing irrelevant threats. The five-year projected growth rate for risk management skills is calculated by Burning Glass analysts at 60%.

Threat Intelligence

Organizations all around the world are increasingly recognizing the value of threat intelligence. Threat intelligence benefits companies of all shapes and sizes allowing them to understand their potential attackers, respond faster to incidents, and proactively get ahead of cybercriminals. The Intelligence Lifecycle consists of five steps resulting in a feedback loop: Planning and Direction, Collection, Processing and Exploitation, Analysis and Production, Dissemination, and Integration. The five-year projected growth rate for this skill is 41%.

Incident Response

Responding to significant cyber incidents can be an incredibly stressful and intense time. This is when incident response experts come into play. A well-defined incident response plan allows your company to identify, minimize the damage, and reduce the cost of a cyber-attack. Whether in-house or external, incident response experts will be in high demand in the coming years. Burning Glass estimates the growth rate for this skill at 37%.  

Compliance and Controls

With new industry standards and ever-changing regulatory requirements, organizations need to create a security-first approach to cybersecurity to stay ahead of the evolving requirements. Balancing compliance regulations and cybersecurity can be difficult sometimes and many organizations find it challenging to maintain acceptable compliance postures. Hiring a six-figure CISO to manage cybersecurity and compliance will still be a good idea, but organizations will also be on the lookout for experts in regulatory compliance. The five-year projected growth rate for compliance skills is calculated by Burning Glass at 36%.

Data Privacy and Security

When talking about regulatory compliance, one hot topic is data privacy and security. Security experts always advise businesses to implement a strong and distinct set of strategies for managing both data privacy and data security. Depending on company size and resources, the person in charge of these plans is the CDO (Chief Data Officer) or an equivalent dedicated position. The five-year projected growth rate for this skill is 36%. 

Access Management 

The COVID-19 pandemic brought flexible working patterns to a whole new level, thus making access management a vital process for many firms. Allowing the right individuals to access the right resources at the right times for the right reasons is a crucial process for any enterprise. Access management is a skill many IT professionals will have to acquire. The five-year projected growth rate for this skill is 32%. 

Security Strategy and Governance

As companies exchange more data and adopt new technologies, a strategic approach to cybersecurity has never been more critical. The motto “Security is not just a concern for IT. It’s everybody’s responsibility” is getting more and more popular for an increasing number of companies. Analysts estimate the five-year growth rate for this skill at 20%.  

Health Information Security

According to security experts, cyber-attacks increased along with the rapid worldwide spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare sector being a preferred target. “Most of the top jobs requesting health information security skills range from cybersecurity engineers to health care administrators and even insurance sales agents. This creates hybrid roles that must blend cybersecurity skills within their existing responsibilities,” according to the Burning Glass’s report. The five-year projected growth rate for compliance skills is calculated by Burning Glass at 20%.

While mundane cybersecurity operations will continue to prove challenging in the coming years, the opportunities for those who prepare and acquire the right skill sets remain full of possibilities.