"I got another job offer! Oh man, what should I do?"
This is not a typical lament among job seekers these days. Yet almost every week I hear it from a friend who is an information security specialist (aka, cybersecurity tech geek).
At just 25 years old, he's armed with numerous certifications that you and I have probably never even heard of. Because of them, employers are desperately trying to recruit him.
There's good reason for his good fortune: Last month, the unemployment rate for information security specialists was reported to be 0%. (Yes, I said zero, as in a very impressive guess-what-you-hope-your-kid-wants-to-study-at-college zero percent.)
Such ironclad job security is even more remarkable when compared with the current national unemployment rate of just over 9%.
So why are these cybercops in such demand?
The Last Four Digits of My SSN Are...
As recently revealed hacks of the U.S. government, the United Nations, and other high-profile organizations remind us, cybersecurity is a necessity. We think little of leaving our credit card information stored with online vendors like Apple (AAPL), Amazon (AMZN), or Netflix (NFLX), and we're even more cavalier with our email addresses and contact information. And with the rise of cloud computing, we're being asked to trust not only these companies but also third parties running faraway servers.
The never-ending stream of security breaches reported on the evening news has left consumers wondering whether these companies are capable of properly securing our information. And, more importantly, can consumers trust them to ably handle even more of our sensitive personal data?
The answer to this important question is yes, with a caveat: Companies are capable of protecting our sensitive information only inasmuch as they are able to hire properly trained information security specialists. It's my friend's certifications, not his geek charm, that are his key to success.
Want in on This Surefire Field?
Barring a cybersecurity degree, how can you and I get in on the spoils of this growing field? By investing in companies that train these digital bouncers.
SAIC (SAI), for example, provides state-of-the-art training and certifications to keep the "good guys" one step ahead of the hackers. By producing a reliable force of competent specialists, both internally and externally, SAIC is helping secure the future of this industry.
The industry as a whole is inexpensive right now -- the average P/E is just 13.7. In addition to SAIC (which sports a P/E of 7.7 after a post-earnings sell-off today), ManTech International Corp. (MANT) (P/E: 10) and CACI (CACI) (P/E: 11.5) appear to be affordable investments in this sector.
If you think (as I do) that cybersecurity companies could bring real security to your portfolio, begin your research by adding SAIC, ManTech, and CACI to your list of stocks to watch and keep tabs on the pulse of this industry.
Motley Fool contributing writer Amanda Buchanan does not own shares of any company mentioned in this article. The Motley Fool owns shares of ManTech International and Apple. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying shares of Apple, Netflix, and Amazon.com. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended buying puts in Netflix. Motley Fool newsletter services have recommended creating a bull call spread position in Apple.
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