10 fastest-growing cybersecurity skills to learn in 2021

People with experience in application development security are in the highest demand but cloud expertise commands the biggest paycheck.


Atlas VPN analyzed job postings to understand the current and future demands for cybersecurity skills.

Image: AtlasVPN

IT professionals with expertise in app development security, cloud computing, and risk management will have the most job opportunities this year and beyond, according to a new analysis of jobs data. The report from Atlas VPN also found that cloud expertise can command the best salary. 

According to the skills report, the fastest-growing cybersecurity skill in 2021 is application development security. Atlas VPN predicts the demand for this experience will rise 164% in five years.

Security professionals who have cloud expertise are also in high demand, according to the report. AtlasVPN reports that the need for cloud security experts will increase 115% over the next five years. This skill is important for cloud architects, system engineers, developers, cybersecurity engineers, and security consultants.

Risk management is another in-demand skill set with demand predicted to increase 60% in the next five years.

SEE: How to become a cybersecurity pro: A cheat sheet (TechRepublic)

The analysis also considered how much of a salary boost comes with each skillset. Cloud expertise is the clear winner:

  • Cloud security: $15,025
  • Application development security: $12,266
  • Risk management: $13,379

The entire top 10 list looks like this:

  1. Application development security
  2. Cloud security
  3. Risk management
  4. Threat intelligence
  5. Incident response
  6. Compliance and controls
  7. Data privacy and security
  8. Access management
  9. Security strategy and governance
  10. Health information security

Although health information security skills came in at the end of the top 10 list, the report notes that these skills are relevant well beyond the IT department. People working health insurance sales, medical records, and healthcare administration need a basic understanding of cybersecurity priorities and regulations.

The AtlasVPN analysis is based on a report from Burning Glass Technologies in October 2020. The report analyzed a database of more than 1 billion job records to calculate five-year growth projections for cybersecurity skills.

SEE: Social engineering: A cheat sheet for business professionals (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

As companies extend their 2020 remote work plans well into the new year, this trend also increases the demand for cybersecurity skills. As Owen Hughes reported for TechRepublic, a 2020 Harvey Nash/KPMG CIO survey found that 35% of organizations named cybersecurity pros as the top hiring priority. The SolarWinds attack on the US government is only the latest cyberattack with serious implications, as Lance Whitney explained on TechRepublic.

Companies need security professionals to secure their corporate data and to defend against the ongoing threat of cyberattacks. The COVID-19 vaccine distribution process is a prime target for criminals along with the phishing and disinformation campaigns that have surrounded the pandemic for almost a year. As N.F. Mendoza reported for TechRepublic, phone scammers were able to get much more personal information from victims in 2020.

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By Veronica Combs

Veronica Combs is a senior writer at TechRepublic. For more than 10 years, she has covered technology, healthcare, and business strategy. In addition to her writing and editing expertise, she has managed small and large teams at startups and establis...