Cybersecurity skills and certifications open doors to the next hot jobs for recent grads

Published May 18 2021 08:00 AM 9,787 Views

*UPDATE* October 27, 2021 – To bolster the cybersecurity offerings within Microsoft Learn for Educators, we have added the AZ-500 – Microsoft Azure Security Technologies course.


Today we are excited to announce the addition three new courses to the Microsoft Learn for Educators program:

  • SC-900 – Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals
  • MB-910 – Dynamics 365 Fundamentals Customer Engagement Apps (CRM)
  • MB-920 – Dynamics 365 Fundamentals Finance and Operations Apps (ERP)


Among the others, the addition of SC-900 – Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals to our portfolio of offerings in the higher education space reflects the growth of these skills in the marketplace and our ongoing commitment to supporting faculty in delivering cutting-edge technical instruction to students to prepare them for future jobs.


By all indicators, the cybersecurity field is one of the largest growth areas in today’s corporate landscape – and it should be. According to TechJury reporting on 2020 cyber-attack statistics, this is what a day in cybersecurity looked like in 2020:

  • Globally, 30,000 daily website attacks
  • With every passing second, 75 records went missing worldwide
  • Every 39 seconds, there was a new attack somewhere on the web
  • An average of around 24,000 malicious mobile apps were blocked daily on the Internet


The result? 64% of companies worldwide experienced at least one form of a cyber-attack in 2020 alone.


Companies need to protect themselves by having appropriately skilled employees to help them keep their businesses and their data secure. With explosive growth in demand, cybersecurity is a great area for companies to acquire new talent. As students prepare to enter the workforce in today’s environment, they’re searching for ways to stand out. By bringing SC-900 – Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals into your curriculum you will be supporting students in the acquisition of cybersecurity skills and industry-recognized certifications to do just that – stand out.


SC-900 is targeted to those looking to familiarize themselves with the fundamentals of security, compliance, and identity (SCI) across cloud-based and related Microsoft services. The breath of the topics covered in SC-900 reflects the complex nature of the cybersecurity discipline as it involves skills in areas like information or network security, cryptography, identity management, and information assurance.


The cybersecurity job market

In order to understand how a course like SC-900 might help college students in the job market, we used data from job postings in the United States to examine areas of technical skill growth, demand, and salary data. This analysis was conducted with Labor Insight, an industry data set from Burning Glass for understanding the job market. Figure 1 represents the top 15 skills listed for cybersecurity job postings in the US. It’s a mix of cybersecurity skills, common technical skills, and business skills.


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Figure 1. Source: Analytics compiled through Labor Insight from Burning Glass.


Cybersecurity is evolving as its own discipline with security specific occupations; however, the discipline of cybersecurity is applicable to many more traditional titles in the marketplace.  Again, relying on Labor Insight from Burning Glass, Figure 2 reflects the top occupations by % for cybersecurity job postings in the US in the past 12 months. 


Figure 2.png

Figure 2. Source: Analytics compiled through Labor Insight from Burning Glass.  


And, although there is a rich technical and business consulting industry around cybersecurity itself, every industry needs cybersecurity expertise. We are seeing demand for cybersecurity skills across all industries. From banking to healthcare to insurance to manufacturing, all industries are investing in talent to help them secure their systems, networks, and programs from digital attacks. Figure 3 depicts the top industries by % for cybersecurity job postings in the US the past 12 months.   


Figure 3.png


Figure 3. Source: Analytics compiled through Labor Insight from Burning Glass. (Note: these industry classifications are based on the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) standards.)


The cybersecurity job market provides a broad opportunity for students and recent grads to find a job in a field and company that suits them.


Cybersecurity jobs for recent grads

Amid the overall demand in cybersecurity, when we look at the demand for people with a bachelor’s degree and zero to two years experience, we find that over 82,000 jobs or 19% of all jobs in the cybersecurity space in the US in the last 12 months are posted asking for 0-2 years of experience (Figure 4).


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Figure 4. Source: Analytics compiled through Labor Insight from Burning Glass.


Additionally, over 75% of these jobs are looking for a bachelor’s degree or less (Figure 5). This suggests that for recent graduates there is a tremendous opportunity to not only find a job, but to truly find one in a field and at a company that is a great fit.


Figure 5.png

Figure 5. Source: Analytics compiled through Labor Insight from Burning Glass.


Cybersecurity jobs and salaries

When we look at salaries in the cybersecurity space (Figure 6), a bachelor’s degree will put students at the mean salary level at just over $72,000/year. However, when compared to the Information Technology space in general, that’s $17,000/year higher than the mean salary. If you add cloud computing skills to that, for example by also teaching and certifying students in AZ-900 – Azure Fundamentals, the salary is even higher. The mean salary for a cybersecurity job requiring limited experience, a bachelor’s degree, and both cybersecurity and cloud skills is over $92,000/year. By bringing these Microsoft technical skills and certifications into your curriculum, program, or department, you will be playing a pivotal role in empowering your students for future success.


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Figure 6. Source: Analytics compiled through Labor Insight from Burning Glass.


Cybersecurity certifications

Not only do cybersecurity skills matter, but so do certifications. For years certifications have provided benefits to learners attaining them in job placement, job effectiveness, salary increases, and promotions. Right now, certifications in cybersecurity have the highest demand in the market. According to the Global Knowledge 2020 IT Skills and Salary Report, “over half of our survey respondents have at least one cybersecurity certification, making it by far the most popular category in 2020. Cisco is second (22%) and Microsoft is third (21%).” Furthermore, when looking at the most in-demand certifications for the upcoming year, there are four of the top ten are security certifications.


Certifications are also in demand by employers. Of the 82,000 job postings for limited experience cybersecurity professionals, 54% of those jobs are looking for at least one certification in their job postings. This may not sound significant on its own, but when compared to the Information Technology (IT) space, it is. For IT positions all-up, only 30% of them ask for a certification of any kind on the job posting. This differentiates the cybersecurity space tremendously not only in the demand for but also the value of certifications in this market. Certifications are a critical part of ensuring your students future success as they enter the job market.


Cybersecurity and Microsoft

Today we are adding SC-900 – Microsoft Security, Compliance, and Identity Fundamentals to the Microsoft Learn for Educators program because we recognize how critical these technical skills are for the future. By joining Microsoft Learn for Educators you will be building you students' technical skills with curriculum and educational materials provided by Microsoft – a tried and true presence in the certification and cloud space for, according to Global Knowledge, “over half of global IT decision-makers say they expect their organization to invest in Microsoft technology this year. This is the second straight year Microsoft tops the list.”  When you couple that type of customer demand for Microsoft technology together with the demand for cybersecurity skills and certifications, adding Microsoft Security, Compliance and Identity Fundamentals to your curriculum will ensure that you are preparing your students for future jobs.

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