Industrywide labor shortage fuels Denver cybersecurity bootcamp’s growth

February 5, 2018 | In 2015, hackers compromised Anthem Inc. and Ashley Madison. In 2016, Mirai botnet malware and politically motivated cyberattacks dominated the headlines. In 2017, it was ransomware and the Equifax breach.

This string of high-profile cyberattacks – and the likelihood of future attacks in new and unexpected forms – has fueled enormous growth in the cybersecurity industry in recent years. Spending on cybersecurity products and services, which was at approximately $3.5 billion in 2004, is expected to exceed $1 trillion over the five years from 2017 to 2021, according to Cybersecurity Ventures.

Cybersecurity companies are popping up across Colorado, but they’re all contending with a common problem: a chronic shortage of qualified workers. In 2017, there were 18,308 employed workers in the state’s cybersecurity industry and 9,478 job openings, according to Cyberseek, a workforce and career resource jointly developed by CompTia and Burning Glass Technologies.

Relative to the broader economy, that 1.9 employed worker per opening ratio was very low. According to Cyberseek, there were 2.6 employed workers per job opening in the cybersecurity industry nationally and 5.6 employed workers per job opening in the broader economy.

Leslie Jones, chief human resources officer at Coalfire, a Denver-based cybersecurity risk management and compliance services company, says she’s observed that many of Coalfire’s customers have struggled to find qualified workers.

“From our view, this is because cybercrime has risen steadily, and we have seen the regulatory environment become more demanding as well, increasing the demand for strong, qualified professionals,,” Jones said.


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