I get one cyber hire. What should it be?

Dear Deb: If I made one cybersecurity hire in January, what role should it be?

I get one cyber hire. What should it be?

Welcome to “Ask Deb from QA,” a new column from MxD.

Every week, Deb from QA — with decades of experience on the factory floor — will answer your questions to demystify and explain the digital manufacturing industry.

Please submit your questions to debfromqa@mxdusa.org

Dear Deb: If I made one cybersecurity hire in January, what role should it be?

If you’re a regular reader of my column, you know what I think about cybersecurity: It’s a big deal. More importantly, it’s a huge area of growth for the digital manufacturing space in the coming years. 

Whether you’re a recent college graduate or seasoned veteran looking for a career pivot, if you’re looking for a sector with tremendous growth potential, don’t sleep on cybersecurity.

But cybersecurity is also a fairly broad category. I hear from hiring managers quite frequently, and I get your question a lot: “If I had to invest in just one position within cyber, what role should I hire for?”

My opinion: Cybersecurity IT/OT integration engineer. 

Traditionally, IT (information technology) and OT (operational technology) have operated in different silos. But as our industry becomes more digitized, the two fields are quickly converging. And they should. Because in factories, having a secure work environment is more important than ever.

If you find a candidate with experience in engineering design, manufacturing, automation, or data security, a cybersecurity IT/OT integration engineer could be a natural fit. 

What’s more, there’s a huge demand for that position as we speak. 

By some estimates, there’s a shortage of roughly a half million people in manufacturing cybersecurity — meaning manufacturers could conceivably fill 500,000 positions, if only there were enough warm bodies. Of those, I’d guess 10 to 20 percent are in the IT/OT integration space. That’s as many as 100,000 open positions just waiting for qualified candidates!

Between earning potential, industry growth potential, and employment demand, a cybersecurity IT/OT integration engineer is hot, hot, hot!

Assuring quality,

MxD’s Hiring Guide: Cybersecurity in Manufacturing identifies 247 cybersecurity job roles and the skills, education and training needed to fill them. It’s a must-read for HR and manufacturing execs.

Check out last week’s Ask Deb here:
My Supply Chain Is a Hot Mess

Deb from QA wants to hear your questions. Send ‘em to debfromqa@mxdusa.org and she’ll answer as soon she’s done with her shift.