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Is it the right time for a career in cybersecurity?

The skills and capabilities of well-trained IT security professionals are in incredibly high demand

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The cybersecurity landscape is a battle zone. War is being fought on every front, from email to firewalls to personnel to cracking complex codes, cybercriminals are evolving and adapting alongside the technology designed to protect organisations against them. For the business, the battlefield is fraught with hidden risks and new complexities. The cybercrime industry is estimated to be worth around $US 1.5 trillion and it’s continuing to grow at an exponential rate. There is a dire need for cybersecurity professionals that have the skills and nous to support organisations in protecting information and systems. 

“The role of the cybersecurity professional has evolved considerably,” says Karien Bornheim, Chief Executive Officer at Footprint Africa Business Solutions (FABS). “You can become a cybersecurity engineer with branch-out skills in networks and applications, you can invest in training that hones your skills as an information security analyst, you can become an ethical hacker and many more. Each of these roles undertakes highly specialised tasks to mitigate the ongoing cybersecurity threat and refine security systems and compliance postures.”

The complex and endlessly changing cybercrime market is not the only reason why anyone with a head for analysis and a penchant for problem-solving should consider moving into the cybersecurity career path. Here are four more…

It’s a cybersecurity market

Thanks to the ongoing and ever evolving cybersecurity risks, there is a dire need for people who have the skills to help organisations combat these threats. A simple Google search into the term ‘cybersecurity job’ will reveal thousands of openings and opportunities all over the world. For those who have the training, there is the chance to work across multiple industries and in many different countries. In the United States, the CyberSeek Cybersecurity Supply/Demand heat map reveals the staggering need for trained cybersecurity professionals – more than 300,000 in just the US alone and rising.

“Training to become a cybersecurity engineer, analyst, architect, and administrator should be done through a reliable and reputable organisation that assures you of certifications that are globally recognised,” adds Bornheim. “Ensure that you opt into the right career path for your skills and inclinations and then work with a training partner that suits your needs.”

Job Security

The incredible global demand for talented cybersecurity professionals means that if you invest your time in training to become one, you are looking at a stable and secure job for the foreseeable future. The demand is unlikely to dip any time with growth in cybercrime expected to continue at a staggering rate. The most important consideration is to ensure that your personality and interests are suited to this career.

“It’s a good idea to spend some time reading through various cybersecurity manuals, training programmes, and online content,” says Bornheim. “This will give you a good idea of the type of work you’ll do and whether or not it appeals to you. To really enhance your skillsets, you will need to spend time learning about more than just basic cybersecurity tenets, you will need to continually train and expand your knowledge to align with trends and developments in cybercrime.”

Anyone can do it

Along with job security and plenty of opportunities, is the reality that becoming a cybersecurity professional pays well, even at the entry level. You can start at the bottom and rapidly grow your way to the top if you apply yourself and invest in consistent skills and knowledge development. What’s even more interesting about this career, is that you don’t need to have spent your youth hacking computers or crafting code, anyone can grow into one of the many cybersecurity specialisations available on the market today.

“You don’t need to have in-depth technology experience to move into this career path,” says Bornheim. “The skills that you have learned along the road, your ability to understand human motivations, and a talent for thinking outside the box will stand you in great stead. You can build technical savvy through training, but you can’t create the ability to anticipate human behaviour or think in shades of grey.”

You may find it quite satisfying

According to the Cybersecurity Workforce Study 2018 undertaken by (ISC)2 41% of cybersecurity professionals were somewhat satisfied with their jobs, 27% were very satisfied and only 6% were very dissatisfied. If you work for a company that recognises the need for robust security infrastructure and provides the funds and support required, then it is very likely that you will enjoy your role. 

“Thanks to the enormous demand for trained professionals, you can pick and choose the company you work for, so choose one that understands the value you offer and the challenge that the cyberthreat presents,” says Bornheim. “Most people find their jobs incredibly rewarding if they can really dig in and make a difference and the role of a cybersecurity professional is one that can really tick this box if you work for the right company.”

Cybersecurity is a very alluring career path for people who enjoy a challenge, pay attention to detail, constantly learn and evolve, have great people skills, and are capable of working well under pressure. It is a demanding career and it does ask that you can think on your feet, but it also provides you with a really dynamic career path, constant growth, international travel, and so much more.

“There is no age limit on learning to become a cybersecurity professional,” concludes Bornheim. “Anyone at any stage of their life can pick up the threads of this career and get started. All you need is a reliable training partner and a certified qualification along with the determination to succeed. FABS currently offers market leading training that covers all the bases you need to put your foot on the ladder to cybersecurity success.”

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3D printing set for $20bn boom

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3D printing is starting to be realized in a wide variety of industries, but its potential in the aerospace and defense industry is significant. The 3D printing industry was worth $3bn in 2013 and grew to $7bn in 2017. By 2025, the market is forecast to account for more than $20bn in spend, according to GlobalData, a leading data and analytics company.

The company’s report, ‘3D Printing in Aerospace & Defence – Thematic Research’, reveals that most major militaries and companies are exploring options with the technology. Some are still in the testing phase, while others are deploying the technology in final production. This is particularly true in the aerospace industry, where engines, aircraft and satellites are currently using 3D-printed components.

Listed below are the militaries that have taken an early lead in implementing 3D printing technology, as identified by GlobalData.

US Marine Corps

The US Marine Corps currently has the highest uptake of 3D printing of any military service worldwide. In particular, the additive manufacturing team at Marine Corps Systems Command has created the world’s largest 3D concrete printer with the ability to print a 500-square-foot barracks hut in 40 hours.

US Air Force

The US Air Force is integrating 3D printing into its supply chain. Overseen by ‘America Makes’, the US national additive manufacturing/3D printing innovation institute, it is investigating how current systems can be used to reproduce aircraft components for decades-old planes that may no longer have reliable sources of replacement parts, without minimum order quantities.

US Navy

The Navy has created new logistical units such as Navy frontline attachments, which can rapidly create spare parts for incredibly complex military equipment such as the F-35B – and are currently operational for this purpose. The navy has also worked with Oak Ridge National laboratory to produce the first 3D-printed submarine hull.

US Army

The US Army is working on 3D-printed, modular drone systems. The army wants 3D printers that can be deployed to a forward base camp and used to produce aviation backup when necessary for troops on the ground. This plan aims to create bespoke unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) systems and is said to be at an advanced stage of development.

Chinese Air Force

A 3D Systems ProJet 4500 printer has been acquired by the Chinese army and has been working on replacement military truck parts for the army’s fuel tanker fleet. A number of Chinese fighter jets are believed to be carrying 3D-printed parts and are currently in operation.

Russian Army

Russia has been testing multiple applications for 3D-printed parts in its newest main battle tank, the T-14 Armata. During the development process, 3D printing was used for prototyping, but it is expected that parts will be used in the final product, of which 2,300 have been ordered.

South Korean Air Force

Collaboration between South Korea’s InssTEK and France’s Z3DLAB is producing parts for South Korean warplanes that see heavy use along the border with North Korea. The aim is to upgrade existing components, rather than replace worn parts, with a new titanium composite material.

Information based on GlobalData’s report: ‘3D Printing in Aerospace & Defence – Thematic Research’.

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SA productivity could nosedive on Black Friday

Employee productivity on Black Friday could nose dive, says local online retailer, OneDayOnly.co.za

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Finance Minister Tito Mboweni hasn’t had it easy lately. Amidst a more-than-tricky economy and having to walk the tight rope in his recent mid-term budget speech, Tito is squeezed between a rock and a very hard place that’s about to get tighter with Black Friday inspired employee procrastination.

“While the minister probably has bigger fish to fry than South Africans avoiding spreadsheets in favour of scooping a deal on Samsung’s latest flat screen – Black Friday undoubtedly affects employees’ focus at work,” says Matthew Leighton, spokesperson at leading South African e-tailer OneDayOnly.co.za .

While it started as a post-Thanksgiving blowout sale by US retailers, Black Friday has become one of the most significant calendar days for consumers and the retail industry globally. “The proof is in the OneDayOnly.co.za stats. Last year, we recorded over 150 000 website users on Black Friday alone – the average on a regular day is around 60 000 and on a high traffic day such as pay day its approximately 80 000,” says Leighton.

So the demand is clearly there but are people actually doing the bulk of their Black Friday buying while they should be working? Leighton says they are. “Although the sale starts at midnight people are online throughout the day and data from last year shows traffic on OneDayOnly.co.za spiking primarily during core working hours – 06:00, 8:00, 11:00 and 15:00.

He adds that the average user session – or time people spend on the site at any one point – is three times longer on Black Friday than any other day. “In addition to spending longer on the site on Black Friday, customers also return many times during the day so these longer sessions happen numerous times during the work day.”

To add to Tito’s woes, Leighton explains that people are also multi-screening their buying efforts by watching social platforms for tips and prompts. “Most online retailers worth their salt share prompts on social feeds to drive traffic to their websites. Last year, each time we announced via social that a 100% off deal was available shoppers flocked to OneDayOnly.co.za. Almost instantly, the web traffic would spike. The pattern shows how closely people keep an eye on the 100% off deal drops via social media, as well as how effectively the platforms cater to a very wide audience in real time.”

But while Black Friday may result in the odd deadline being missed, Leighton believes the overall impact on the economy is an extremely positive one. “Last year we saw people spending in the region of R1300 on Black Friday, compared to an average of R970 on other days. According to BankServ, South Africans’ card transactions came up to R3bn on the day last year, up 16% from 2017. That’s a nice injection into an otherwise depressed retail sector.”

Leighton says people love Black Friday because there is something in it for everyone, but there’s also nothing to lose – except for maybe a bit of work time. “With so many more products available at low prices, it makes sense to peruse. If you find nothing you like, you are no worse off. And your boss doesn’t have to be either if you’re proactive and shop before work when our doors open at midnight.”

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