Despite the comparative good health of the security industry through the tech downturn and its 'sexier' image than other areas of IT, 2005 has been declared the year of the IT security professional in an attempt to attract more talent into the sector.
Non-profit industry body the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium ((ISC)2) made the announcement at Infosec in New York.
The initiative, in large part a profile raising exercise, is intended to highlight the prospects for employment within the sector, remind companies of the need for robust security, increase the protection of consumer data, restore faith in the internet and demonstrate to the public the importance of qualified security professionals.
Sarah Bohne, a senior director at (ISC)2 told silicon.com one impetus for this initiative is to ensure security professionals are fully qualified, citing IDC figures which show the number of IT professionals is set to double to 2.1 million by 2008. (ISC)2 wants to ensure those filling the positions are fit to do so.
"There is a shortage of talent already," added Bohne, stressing the need for more training.
"The goal is to attract more talent for the future and bring more support to current professionals," said Bohne.
One way in which the organisation intends to achieve the first half of that goal is by extending a scholarship scheme it offers to graduates to undergraduates.
Bohne said it is important, with IT now a fundamental aspect of modern life, that those who keep it safe and secure are viewed with the same respect as doctors, the police and other public servants.
The (ISC)2 initiative is supported by the Information Systems Security Association (ISSA); the UK Information Assurance Advisory Council, Royal Holloway University, Microsoft and Deloitte among others.