Top 7 Cybersecurity Skills To Master In 2022


The cybersecurity industry continues to grapple with a dearth of skilled professionals at a time when the frequency and nature of cyberattacks are worsening. Companies are on the constant lookout for experienced and skilled experts to narrow the workforce shortage. This article helps security enthusiasts and job seekers identify the top cybersecurity skills needed in 2022 and ace the security skill game.

Most of us are familiar with the dire shortage of qualified cybersecurity professionals in the world today, so I won’t bore you with the numbers. I read an interesting statOpens a new window the other day that the people needed to fill cybersecurity positions in 2021 would fill 50 NFL stadiums, roughly 465,000 people. Organizations the world over are in dire need of cybersecurity talent. Talent means having the right skill sets. Below is a list of seven cybersecurity skills that are in high demand this year. Anyone who has interviewed for a security-related position can attest that too many applicants are not even qualified for the positions they are vying for. Note that the list of skills below is in no particular order of importance.  

Top Must-have Cybersecurity Skills To Master In 2022

Risk assessment

The most important skill doesn’t have to do with a particular technology per se. It’s the ability to gauge the degree of risk to an organization. The fact is that you can be in perfect compliance with all required regulations, follow every NIST guideline and still get hacked. There is no way to guarantee security for a digitally connected enterprise. You can assess your risk environment to determine the vulnerabilities that an attacker would most likely exploit. Knowing this information allows an organization to create a best-effort strategy to address those risks. This is known as an organization’s “due of care.” ‘Due of care’ refers to the security efforts that a reasonable person would have implemented in a given situation. Should a cybersecurity incident ever lead to litigation, a company will be responsible for demonstrating its expected due of care in court. That is important because you cannot be held liable beyond what is deemed reasonable. With the size of litigation settlements mounting and the growing number of regulatory compliances being passed by governments today, the need for risk management professionals is growing rapidly.

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Penetration testing

A penetration test or pen test should be one of the procedures implemented in a risk assessment. A pen test shouldn’t be confused with a vulnerability scan. A pen tester is a highly trained security expert hired to breach a particular system, such as an external or internal network, a web-based application, or a wireless network. This differs from an ethical hacker, which attacks an enterprise outside of the limitations of a defined target or scope. The person implementing the pen test must approach the task as a hacker would do. Should the pen tester find a way to breach the network, it’s pretty certain an experienced attacker would as well. A pen test could involve probing for weaknesses in a perimeter firewall or a phishing attack against your employees. Pen testers must be familiar with various technologies and be adept at exploiting multiple attack avenues. 

Cloud security

With so many enterprises migrating digital assets and services to the cloud, cloud security skills are in short supply. That’s because cloud security uses different security protocols and tools than traditional on-prem datacenters. For instance, Active Directory utilizes security protocols such as LDAP, NTLM and Kerberos and Group Policy as its policy management system. The cloud uses web-based authentication protocols such as SAML, OAUth and WS-Federation and depends on a portal management system to deliver policies. While the principles remain the same, the tools and approaches are different. You must have experience with a cloud platform such as AWS or Azure and be familiar with various operating systems, web application firewalls and Identity and Access technologies. Cloud security is one of the easier skills to acquire as one acquires an environment to learn from through a simple subscription rather than building a dedicated network.  

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Blockchain Security

Blockchain is one of the hottest technologies out there, which means the need to secure it is soaring. The challenge in protecting a blockchain is balancing the need for transparency and security. Certainly, the need to protect the CIA Triad of confidentiality, integrity, and availability is paramount with the blockchain. Its value depends on the confidence and trust that people have in it. In addition to conventional security tools, security controls are unique to the blockchain. Some critical components include safeguarding API-based transactions, enforcing identity and access controls, and privileged access management (PAM).   

Digital forensics

In the same way, a forensic specialist is brought in to help solve a murder investigation, while a digital forensics specialist helps solve a data breach or ransomware incident. In this case, it is not so much to catch the perpetrator as it is to prevent the incident from occurring again. Case in point, 80% of ransomware victims suffer repeat attacks, according to a 2021 studyOpens a new window . Digital forensics involves the collection and preservation of evidence to analyze it to discover just how a cyberattack took place so that those attack avenues and vulnerabilities can be locked down to prevent future attacks. It requires a deep understanding of computers, networking, coding, and critical-thinking skills.  

Cybersecurity trainers

When it comes to cybersecurity, an organization is only as secure as its weakest link, which in most cases are the users behind the keyboards. As a result, businesses are investing in cybersecurity awareness programs to educate their workforce on good cyber hygiene. Like soldiers on the front lines of an attack, users are taught how to identify suspicious activity and how they are the front-line soldiers. Of course, there is a huge demand to teach advanced cybersecurity courses, such as CISSP courseware. However, just because you know something doesn’t mean you know how to teach it. Teaching involves connecting with people and conveying an organized message so that they can comprehend and retain it. This balance of both soft and technical skills is especially challenging to find.   

Artificial intelligence

Whether it’s supply chain management, healthcare, manufacturing or cybersecurity, AI is at the forefront of many industries today. The complexity and size of today’s enterprises have exceeded the abilities of conventional security controls that rely on human intervention. AI can augment the security efforts of a cybersecurity team through automation, scale, and intelligence. AI-driven solutions can draw data streams from thousands of devices and touchpoints across the IT estate and analyze them in real-time. Machine learning analytics can uncover underlying patterns of suspicious activity that were invisible before and possibly eradicate them even before the team even knows about it. Digital twin environments can be used to simulate a security breach and develop mitigation responses for similar future attacks. They can also be used to develop decision-making trees to assist security teams in the face of a developing threat.  


In a world in which everyone is connected, everyone needs cybersecurity. Because cybersecurity is a moving target, the skills you need are constantly evolving as well. If you are dedicated to both learning and protecting, the sky’s the limit.

Which cybersecurity skill have you already mastered? Tell us on LinkedInOpens a new window , TwitterOpens a new window , or FacebookOpens a new window . We would love to hear from you!