ECOM College in a comprehensive examination – how big is the shortage in cyber experts and what salaries do cyber experts and employees earn around the world
By 2020, there will be a global shortage of 1.5 million Cyber Security experts. The entire market is desperate for employees to learn the field!
The cyber course taught by ECOM College is in collaboration with ITSAFE’s knowledge and technology. The unique course was developed by Roman Zaikin, an information and Cyber Security expert and a former CheckPoint employee which has over 10 years of experience in the cyber field.
Roman, along with other cyber experts, exposed many security vulnerabilities in well-known and influential companies in the global economy, such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Telegram and many more.
In this unique course, students will learn in depth the subject of resilience testing with specialization in the field of Linux and Python, develop websites and applications, and submit reports of resilience tests that will be tested by experts in the field.
“The most significant challenge facing the high-tech sector around the world is the limited supply of skilled labor, given the relative size of the sector in Israel compared to other developed economies. The stagnation in employment in recent years raises questions about the future of the sector, because this stagnation reflects a limitation on the supply side, ie a shortage of skilled manpower.”
This quote is taken from an economic review published during 2020. This did re-flood the manpower problem in a sector that is still considered the locomotive of the economy. The high-tech sector is desperate for technology experts, research and development manpower, and the situation within the Cyber Security niche is not fundamentally different. But, before we dive into the data on Israeli industry, it is worth looking at what is happening overseas and global trends.
The global market: the demand is huge and the wages follow
Israel is not alone in dealing with the shortage in Cyber Security experts. According to Frost & Sullivan, by 2020 there will be a global shortage of 1.5 million Cyber Security experts (!). Frost & Sullivan reached 1.5 million experts due to a following survey conducted last year among 14,000 companies. 62% of companies answered that they don’t have enough Cyber Security experts.
The struggle to find Cyber Security experts and the willingness of the companies to increase their Cyber Security budget in the world, promise a relatively high salary for such an expert compared to an IT person: According to the research company “burningglass”, a Cyber Security expert will be paid by average 9% higher salary than an IT employee. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the median annual salary of a U.S. Cyber Security man in 2019 was $98,890, averaging $17,408 a month.
“The number of information security jobs is set to skyrocket 10 times in the next decade,” says Virginia Lemkl-Dahwa, director of the Jay Pinson STEM Educational Center at the University of California, San Jose, which equips teens to excel in STEM (college entrance) tests in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.
“We need to do much more in order to meet the demand, both at the university level and in primary and secondary education systems,” she says in an interview with the prestigious Stanford University magazine.
However, educators find it difficult to train students in Cyber Security professions quickly enough to meet demand. Demand has risen in the last five years 3.5 times faster than the demand for other IT professionals, and 12 times faster than all jobs in the US economy, according to a March 2019 report by “burningglass”.
Shortage not only in cyber experts
Academics, venture capitalists and Cyber Security entrepreneurs, have agreed that the manpower problem in the Cyber Security niche is not necessarily more acute than the shortage in the entire high-tech sector, and that wage levels in this area are not necessarily significantly higher and / or rising faster than in the industry as a whole. According to them, while in Silicon Valley in the United States and around the world, the shortage of manpower is also being addressed through immigration, in Israel such a solution is not relevant.
However, industry insiders say that Israel’s Cyber Security has one notable advantage over the rest of the world’s high-tech sector: the IDF, or more precisely 8200 Unit. As Bank of America-Merrill Lynch writes: “Israel has a very focused agenda to produce Leading technological solutions for the military market and the intelligence community. Israel is considered one of the world leaders in the Cyber Security industry because of 8200 Unit – the largest military unit in the IDF.
“What is beautiful about Israel is that most people who are trained in Cyber Security during military service, get released and then go out to citizenship. These people set up companies or go to work in Cyber Security companies,” says one of the two major Israeli venture capital funds in Israel. “The Israeli market may be small in terms of manpower – in China, for example, 20-30 times more Cyber Security experts are trained each year – but most of them work throughout their lives for the government sector and do not go move into the private sector. Even the NSA, the U.S. National Security Agency, has far more Cyber Security experts than in the entire state of Israel, and they are no less talented than Israelis, but they work most of their lives for the NSA and do not shift to the private market.
Another record was recorded in the wage levels of the Cyber Security industry in Israel, but as stated, this is a similar trend to the high-tech industry in general. A software developer with 3-5 years of experience earns a gross salary of 28,000-30,000 NIS; An information security researcher with the same seniority will receive 17,000-25,000 NIS.
According to Solomon, the difference in salary between the large high-tech companies and Startups is not significant. “These are more or less the same wage costs, but in Startups the capital component will have a higher weight, so the gross wage will be lower than what is customary in large high-tech companies.”
Training (1): “Not just a technological issue”
8% of the R&D employees in the Cyber Security industry are uneducated, meaning they are self-taught or graduates of intelligence units – a rate quite similar to the average of the high-tech industry as a whole. But, most experts we spoke to, admit that unlike other high-tech sectors, Cyber Security is a field which is difficult to teach and difficult to train because it is very technologically diverse and is relevant to any industry and concerns a variety of areas such as management, law, society and more.
Academic education should be distinguished from professional training, especially when it comes to Cyber Security. Today, the subjects of Cyber can be studied in 260-hours focused courses as taught at ECOM College and after they graduate, students can find a job. The ECOM College course is currently taught in Israel and around the world.
Training (2): “The solution will not rise from within Academia but by colleges such as ECOM College“
As time goes on, and as a result of the growing demand for Cyber Security experts, the number of colleges in Israel that offer professional training in the field has increased. ECOM College is one of the leading colleges in Israel that also teaches the field to students around the world.
ECOM College is currently teaching several courses in parallel in Israel and around the world in this training track alone, not including courses in other fields. The college’s director general, Dr. Meir Orenstein, clarifies that “this is not a substitute for academic education. There is a difference between academic education and what ECOM does, I see it as complimentary studies to academic and not as a teaching competitor. In my opinion, universities know how to provide a lot of general tools and theoretical knowledge, but it is much more difficult for them – and not only in Israel – to provide practical knowledge. Our training track, I say it’s 95% practice and only 5% theory, and we will accept to the course people who are relatively early in their journey with no practical experience in the field.
According to Orenstein, the profile of people who enroll in a training course such as the one ECOM is offering in Israel and around the world, is one of three: people who want to make a professional transition from managing communication networks, for example, and feel that they have exhausted the field and / or people who want to switch to another profession.
The demand for the training track offered is higher than what ECOM is able to provide. “We accept an average of a third of the registrants.”