The start of a new year is always filled with predictions about different subjects, such as consumer trends, the tech industry, job forecasts and marketing. Based on expert analysis, I have compiled lists based on my research of prognosis in four key areas of interest.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the public sector added a whopping 52,000 jobs in December of 2023 alone, most of which are in local governments, and shows no signs of slowing down. Why? One of the main reasons is that the The Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and its $1.2 trillion dollars is establishing a foothold in funding as intended. As far as the information technology sector, it also added 14,000 new jobs, perhaps signaling a slow rebound from the layoffs the past few months.
- Multiple sources have indicated security clearance processing has slowed down a bit and even regressed after rapid improvement over the past few years. Experts generally point to IT outages, adjustments to AI and its ethics and the Teixeira effect, named after the Air Guardsmen with a Top Secret clearance who leaked classified information on Discord, causing higher scrutiny of clearance applications. As for 2024, it is difficult to say if clearance processing levels out; however, compared to my time in the military six years ago, processing is faster than a prairie fire in the Kansas wind.
- Cybersecurity jobs, even amongst the effects of AI and tech sector cuts, remain well in demand. According to Cyberseek.org, one of my go to sources on the subject, there are over 570,000 open cybersecurity positions in both the public and private sector. This amounts of 28% of the total cyber workforce needed. Over 13,000 of those open jobs are in the public sector. Many of the open positions appear to be entry-level analyst, which has been the case in the past as well. Many of the open jobs are in tech hubs such as California; however, the ratio of jobs needed to jobs filled is higher in many of the less populated states.
- As far as world events go, predictions vary anywhere from mostly the benign side to making Nostradamus look like a “half full” person. The common themes outside the U.S. election (I predict the government will stay widely divided and their gridlock will inflict misery upon the rest of us) are substantial coups and overthrown governments in Africa, Korea testing more nukes, and Ukraine-Russia mired in more of the same, with no progress made by either side. One event that may be worth watching is the February Munich Security Conference and how aid to Ukraine is perceived (step up or throttle back) by supporting countries.
My one cent no holds barred prediction based on my magic dartboard is as follows: The combination of an election year, cheaper and improved technology due to AI, additional social media users and platforms, and increases in motivation by certain factions due to world events, disinformation will be promulgated at a rate higher than ever which will create a huge demand for advances in automated detection and suppression, more manual content moderation, and unfortunately, more combined attacks using disinformation to lure victims into traditional cybersecurity intrusion traps. Will these developments cause a change in the law shifting liability to social media platforms? I doubt that happens this year but I also never thought amateur athletes would be making more than professionals would in some instances.