Why South Africans need to consider a career in cybersecurity

As the number and complexity of threats to IT systems increase, there is an increasing need for cybersecurity professionals able to safeguard systems and deal with threats.


A lot of people still think of cybersecurity as software-based solutions that keep our machines and information safe. This hasn't been the case for some time, as the threats against systems and individuals become increasingly sophisticated.


"This means threats are large scale, multi-vector, mega attacks targeting businesses, individuals, and countries. Everyone is a target, and no one is immune from these fast-spreading attacks."

Increase in demand for cybersecurity professionals


Check Point has highlighted the challenges that face industries as the global attacks on systems are growing faster than the industries capacity to respond to them. Pankaj Bhula, Check Point's Regional Director for Africa, explains:


"We are currently fighting against Gen V and Gen VI cyber threats that utilises a diverse array of attack vectors, with most organisations only having 3rd generation cyber protection in place".


With this in mind, there has been a significant increase in demand for cybersecurity professionals from ethical hackers to cryptographers. As a result, there are huge opportunities for young people who would like to embark in a career as a cybersecurity professional.

Continually changing field


A challenge of cybersecurity is the fact that, historically, cybersecurity skills were never easily accessible. Add to this the fact that the field is continually changing with new threats and technologies in use all the time and cybersecurity skills are in high demand.


Check Point SecureAcademy, a portal of freely available resources, is launching in response to these global trends and in an effort to help provide a comprehensive cybersecurity curriculum to students. The academy has partnered with six universities across the African continent.


Partnering with universities is part of Check Point's strategy to try and give more opportunities for women to enter cybersecurity. This it is hoped will help promote gender diversity and inclusivity.

Preparing for the fourth industrial revolution


The academy is geared toward teaching student to identify and deal with IT security threats as they gain hands-on experience working with enterprise security solutions. The academy's focus is on teaching employable real-world skills.


Initiatives like these are vital for the African continent as we prepare for the fourth industrial revolution. The IT sector has historically been tough for previously disadvantaged groups.


Our education system has largely failed South African youth. University graduation in STEM subjects is said to be around 20% contributing to a large scale shortage of STEM-related skills.


Cybersecurity is an exciting fast-growing field that is ideally suited for youth with the requisite talent wanting to start a career in information technology.