Cybersecurity is one of the fastest-growing industries that offers lucrative employment opportunities, competitive salaries, and unique work environments. And to top it all off, employers in this niche want to hire real talent instead of degrees.

According to the Jobs of Tomorrow report by Forum, experts anticipate a quick influx of jobs at the forefront of the AI economy, IT security, and data. These new roles in cloud computing, product development, and engineering require cutting-edge skills that can’t be found in classrooms.

Cybercrime cost businesses around 1 trillion dollars in 2020, as per a joint report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies and McAfee. Companies encountered a surge of attacks as they transformed digitally in response to the ravages of a global pandemic, so they worked to expedite their cybersecurity recruiting process. However, they found that the talent pool wasn’t big enough to accommodate all to arms. As a result, more than three million cybersecurity jobs were left vacant.

From an IT industry’s standpoint, the problem is that businesses want to hire quickly, but the conventional education system doesn’t move as rapidly as recruiting managers.

The Dilemma of Cybersecurity Employers

HR executives in IT companies are in predicament choosing between onboarding only degree holders, as sporadic as they may be, or offering an opportunity to those who have the suitable skillset without formal education.

The IT-related disciplines typically include both specialized and general tracks, and this holds true for cybersecurity as well

While the university is an essential and venerable pillar of traditional education, the lightning-fast development in IT  has given rise to other training forms designed to assist professionals in keeping up with the ongoing IT trends.

For example, open online courses have gained traction amongst individuals looking to upskill. The Covid outbreak brought millions of novel users to the top-performing online educational platforms, while many others learned on the job and gained valuable experience.

Also, the Bootcamp market is growing to deliver practice-oriented and focused courses in various tech-related disciplines, which includes cybersecurity architecture, that typically takes less than six months.

Degrees or Skills – What Matters More In Cybersecurity

For cybersecurity architects, shifting focus from degrees to skillsets enables a more varied workforce that demonstrates diverse skills. This means moving to always-on employment infrastructure and skills-based education that embraces certification and credentials but employment and fitness-for-job outcomes.

In recent years, many companies, including IBM, Google, and EY, have embraced this new perspective and have improved hiring from substitute talent pools. Many more are spent teaching and training the workforce.

Interestingly, the future of IT and cybersecurity involves hiring people with holistic job skills. Organizations want people with creative problem-solving skills, an eye for detail, an ability to deal with complexity and ambiguity, and a collaborative mindset. And for skills, cybersecurity architects go for more than merely technical or task-oriented skills.

Cybersecurity jobs require talent with relevant skills, and most importantly, one can learn these skills without a college degree.

The nature of careers and work in the IT sector is evolving fast, and employers have no choice but to prioritize and prize the right skills above academic credentials.

Now is the chance to steer clear of student loans and toward fruitful careers and a more diverse workforce.

Wrapping Up

It is challenging for IT business leaders to find the right people with the right mindset and skills.

Leveraging a four-year degree as a proxy for employment means potentially depending on skills that’ll become redundant fast. So, instead, it’s best to hire lifelong learners with pertinent skills.

And most importantly, the amount of work you put into shifting the mindset and approach around hiring talent will determine how far your cybersecurity efforts will go.