While the cybersecurity skills shortage is a global challenge, in Africa there is a pressing need to overcome this as the continent embraces rapid digital transformation. Third-party research conducted in 2022 shows that 75% of companies across the continent are having difficulties recruiting and retaining skilled cybersecurity professionals. This is especially critical given how Africa’s GDP was reduced by more than $4 billion (approximately 10%) in 2021 due to cybercrime.
“With World Youth Skills Day celebrated on 15 July, now is the perfect time to look at the importance of cybersecurity skills and embracing the career opportunities in this dynamic field. Given how quickly cyber threats are evolving in terms of both complexity and scale, there is a need for a new generation of cyber defenders. Cybersecurity offers meaningful employment opportunities, providing a pathway for youth to future-proof their careers while contributing to a safer digital world,” says Sergey Lozhkin, Principal Security Researcher of Kaspersky Global Research and Analysis Team (GReAT).
Kaspersky sees four roles within cybersecurity that are future-proof – even with advances in the adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) in cybersecurity – and that young professionals should consider.
#1 General security analysts and researchers
Security analysts will remain crucial in the cybersecurity landscape. Their role involves monitoring and analysing security events and incidents. With the increasing volume and complexity of cyberthreats, organisations will continue to rely on skilled security analysts to detect and mitigate risks effectively. Over 40 leading cybersecurity experts working globally form Kaspersky Global Research & Analysis Team (GReAT), which uncovers persistent cyberthreats, cyber-espionage campaigns, major malware, ransomware, and underground cybercriminal trends across the world. These analysts bring passion and curiosity to the discovery and analysis of cyberthreats.
#2 Cloud security specialists
Cloud security experts specialise in securing cloud environments by designing and implementing robust security architectures, configuring secure access controls and encryption mechanisms, monitoring for threats, and responding to security incidents. They ensure compliance with regulations and industry standards, conduct security assessments and audits, and provide training to enhance cloud security awareness. Their role is crucial in safeguarding data, applications, and infrastructure within cloud platforms while addressing the unique security challenges posed by cloud computing.
#3 Vulnerability researchers
Vulnerability researchers play an essential role in cybersecurity by identifying, analysing, and testing the weaknesses in software and hardware systems. They use a variety of methods, including manual testing and automated scanning tools, to discover potential exploits or vulnerabilities in systems. Their work is fundamental in strengthening the security posture of an organisation as it enables the timely detection, reporting, and patching of security holes before they can be exploited by malicious actors.
#4 Incident response specialists
With the rise of sophisticated cyberattacks, the need for skilled incident response specialists is paramount. These professionals are responsible for managing and responding to cybersecurity incidents promptly and effectively. They coordinate incident response efforts, conduct forensics, mitigate the impact of incidents, and aid in the recovery process.
While these roles are essential in the digital world, the cybersecurity field remains multidimensional and interconnected. “The collaboration and expertise of various cybersecurity professionals across different roles are necessary to establish a robust defence against evolving threats. Companies should therefore ensure they have a well-rounded cybersecurity team that encompasses a variety of skills and expertise to address the diverse challenges they may face,” adds Lozhkin. “Despite the advancement of AI, human skills such as contextual understanding, critical thinking, and emotional intelligence, are indispensable in cybersecurity. Incidents with security software often require a deep contextual understanding of each specific situation. Human experts can analyse complex scenarios, consider the unique factors involved, and make judgment calls based on their experience and expertise. Hence it remains essential for companies to capitalise on their human teams. Their intuition and ingenuity will always remain at the core of the cybersecurity landscape, combining innovation, technology, and insights.”