In 2016 Cisco estimated there were a million unfilled cybersecurity jobs worldwide. Last November, (ISC)2, the International Information System Security Certification Consortium, said the world was short 4 million cybersecurity professionals.

Why has the gap widened?

Dice.com, the tech careers site, says the reasons are numerous. Two, though, stand out, Dice says in a recent post:

  1. “Many cybersecurity workers feel constrained by a lack of career development and training offered to them.”
  2. “Enterprises that need highly-skilled and motivated employees to ensure the business is secure are not taking the right steps to nurture the talent needed to make that happen.”

To explain that, Dice cited a survey by Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG) and the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA), which revealed that 68% of the cybersecurity professionals feel they have no well-defined career path. Most moved into security because of a personal interest after first working in different IT areas.

Steve Durbin, managing director of the Information Security Forum, told Dice there’s a disconnect between human resources and security teams. HR doesn’t understand what skills are important, nor does it recognize the mental and physical toll cybersecurity takes.

“This hinders the organization’s ability to identify relevant talent and provide adequate support for the professional development of the security workforce,” Durbin said.

It’s easy to get “pigeonholed,” Morgan Mango, a cybersecurity researcher, says. As an example, she says someone working in PKI early in their career might get tagged as a specialist, limiting their options.

“I would always suggest people to find a job in cybersecurity that’s very flexible and very broad in terms of job description and tasks,” Mango told Dice.

Organizations have a responsibility to encourage development of their security professionals.

“To build a sustainable security workforce,” Durbin said, “Organizations should adapt to market demands by seeking candidates with diverse competencies and skill sets coupled with providing competitive benefits and structured career development. For some these changes are already underway but for the majority, the approach is still new and untried.”

Photo by Adi Goldstein on Unsplash


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The IT Job That Troubleshoots Before There’s Trouble

When the sick at Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital got worse despite the efforts of a team of specialists, the call went out for Dr. Gregory House.

When a new app or program fails to work the way it’s supposed to, that’s when you call in a solutions architect.

Like Dr. House, a solutions architect solves problems others can’t — without the acerbic personality of the TV doctor.

But unlike House, solutions architects do their best work before the patient — the project — is sick.

“A solution architect looks at the big picture when technological decisions are made by an organization,” weeding out the pieces that don’t contribute enough to accomplishing the overall objectives of the development project, explains the IT trade association, CompTIA.

Companies may call the job by different names, depending on the primary focus. Software architect, security architect, technical architect are a sample. All share broad responsibilities. CompTIA says they work with business leaders, translating business problems into tech solutions in a way that is clear to both developers and laymen. In that role they may:

  • Design computer and information systems for specific needs
  • Recommend and integrate software and hardware
  • Analyze current systems architecture making recommendations for improvement
  • Organize development efforts and select team members
  • Communicate effectively with staff and clients.

The job requires a deep knowledge of systems and development, CompTIA says. “Most companies hiring a solution architect are looking for someone with a bachelor’s degree in computer science, information technology or something in the engineering field.”

The IT services firm Onix-Systems suggests having at least 8 years’ experience working in different IT areas. Serving as a project manager is highly desirable as it shows you have the ability to work with a team, meet deadlines and communicate effectively.

Technical prowess alone is not enough. The ability to communicate effectively and clearly – and empathetically, says Onix-Systems – that makes for a successful solutions architect.

According to CareerExplorer, “Solution architects tend to be predominantly investigative individuals, which means that they are quite inquisitive and curious people that often like to spend time alone with their thoughts. They also tend to be enterprising, which means that they are usually quite natural leaders who thrive at influencing and persuading others.”

The combination of advanced technical skills, business know-how, outstanding communication skills and management acumen is a rare enough combination that companies pay well for the right talent. The average base pay for a solutions architect is between $110,000 and $115,000.

If you’re a solutions architect or you have the background and interest in the role, send us your resume. You can also search our current jobs listings.

If you’re an employer looking to fill a solutions architect position, call us at 212.683.1988. Our recruiters are specialists who can help you tailor your requirements to get exactly the right person for your organization and your team.

Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash


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J.P. Morgan Foresees Moderate Growth, No Recession In 2020

Predicting 2020 “will be a year of moderate global growth and contained inflation, with risks skewed to the downside,” J.P. Morgan Asset Management last week released its second annual Global Alternatives Outlook.

The report offers a look across key alternative asset classes over the next year to 18-months, with a focus on hedge funds, private credit, real estate and private equity.

The broad outlook, according to J.P. Morgan, is more optimistic, if cautiously so, than economists and analysts have been in the last year or two. Says the report, “The trajectory of growth in 2020 will likely be uninspiring, with the rest of the world looking a bit better but the U.S. economy growing at a trend-like pace. The risk of recession should remain contained, but other risks may continue to build. The pace of profit growth looks set to decelerate further on the back of falling margins, which could potentially lead businesses to pull back on hiring.”

“In sum, 2020 looks to be a year of moderate growth, contained inflation and accommodative policy. While the potential for a further deterioration in corporate profitability presents a risk to this view, a recession over the next 12 months is not our base case.”

For hedge funds, the report sees opportunities from the ongoing digital transformation of industry, “fueling capex and rising demand for software and services.” Fund managers should “increase the integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) criteria and sustainability across their businesses and investment activities.” And, “Value is seen as one of our best bets.”

For private credit, “we are witnessing demand for exposure to U.S. housing and consumer credit. One popular strategy has been mortgage origination to the self-employed and those who are strong financially but are disqualified by their FICO score.” Other opportunities exist in distressed lending and non-performing bank loans and in commercial mortgage lending.

For private equity, the report sees opportunities in small private companies, those with revenues between $10 million and $100 million. In addition, “E-commerce, cybersecurity, and software-as-a-service (SaaS) are a few areas where we continue to see tremendous promise.”

For real estate the strongest US potential J.P. Morgan sees is in single-family rentals, biotech, self-storage and data centers.

Photo by Luke Chesser on Unsplash


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