Project Management Institute

IT

Secure and Protect

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Cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab

PHOTO BY VLADIMIR GERDO\TASS VIA GETTY IMAGES

The frequency and financial stakes of cyberattacks and data breaches continued to spark global fears last year—and for the future. Cybercrime is estimated to hit US$6 trillion annually by 2021, up from US$3 trillion in 2015, according to market firm Cybersecurity Ventures.

Threats appear to be everywhere: Web attacks were up 56 percent, and mobile ransomware increased 36 percent year over year, according to Symantec's 2019 Internet Security Threat Report. With ransomware in particular, enterprises are increasingly in the crosshairs: They now account for 81 percent of all ransomware infections.

Mounting cyberthreats will likely guide hiring decisions for 2020 and beyond. One-third of global CEOs pointed to cybersecurity as the top threat to their organizations’ growth, according to a KPMG survey. In North America, nearly half of CEOs are extremely concerned about cyberthreats, making it the top-ranked risk for the C-suite in that region. But hiring managers are struggling to find the talent needed to strengthen the company ramparts. By 2021, there are expected to be as many as 3.5 million unfulfilled positions in the industry, Cybersecurity Ventures found. In India alone, the shortfall could hit 1 million by sometime this year, a potential threat to any global business that houses online operations in the country.

Beyond cybersecurity, there are other hot spots to consider for IT project managers looking to make a change. “The IT sector is extremely varied and dynamic,” says Rekik Asefa, manager, IT project management division, Awash International Bank, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. “It is a great fit for project managers who welcome change and want to grow and develop alongside new technologies.”

Global IT spending is expected to rise more than 5 percent this year, the International Data Corp. reports. That includes roughly US$1 trillion toward emerging technologies such as virtual reality and robotics. And in the United States, IT jobs are projected to grow 12 percent between 2018 and 2028, faster than the average for all occupations, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports.

Project managers looking to futureproof their skills without necessarily moving organizations should look for opportunities to stretch their capabilities, says Mr. Asefa. That might mean jumping into an IT project with an unfamiliar focus or taking a workshop on AI, blockchain or IoT.

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