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Look beyond job boards to fill cybersecurity jobs

Maria Korolov | July 14, 2017
The cybersecurity staffing shortage is reaching crisis proportions, and companies are looking beyond the traditional channels of job boards and headhunters to find and hire new talent. Here are some of the unconventional ways companies are identifying talent.

"Make sure that the team that is already on the ground and working demonstrates that they enjoy what they do," Cooper says. "If you enjoy the people you work with, enjoy the mission, that comes across. People want to come work for you."


Growing the pie

One of the biggest challenges the cybersecurity profession faces is getting people into the pipeline early, and there have been a number of different industry efforts to address that. According to a 2017 study by Raytheon, the number of young adults aware of what cybersecurity professionals do has been going up.

In 2015, 46 percent of young men and 33 percent of young women were aware about cyber careers, and that increased to 54 percent of young men and 36 percent of young women in 2016. Interest in cyber careers is also going up, with 43 percent of men and 30 percent of women saying they were more likely to go into cybersecurity than they were a year before. The number of U.S. millennials who says that there are cybersecurity programs or activities available to them has increased from 57 percent in 2015 to 70 percent last year.

One of the companies offering such activities is IBM with its Hacker Highschool project for teens and young adults. IBM is also investing in vocational training and coding camps, skills-based certifications, associate degree programs, and training programs for military veterans. According to the company, nearly 20 percent of the security employees IBM hired since 2015 have non-traditional "new collar" backgrounds.

Other companies are also trying to help improve cybersecurity education. Germany-based NTT Security, for example, is working to develop relationships with universities that help the company go beyond just participating in career fairs. "We have employees who participate in advisory boards to help universities develop relevant curriculum for careers in cybersecurity," says Stewart Brooks, NTT’s director of global talent acquisition. That includes the University of Nebraska-Omaha, Dakota State University, Robert Morris University and the Pittsburgh Technology College.

In addition, the company is sponsoring SANS Institute trainings and certifications through the Vet Success Program. "The SANS Institute also has a newer program which focuses on women in the cybersecurity field," Brooks added. "This is something that we are looking at partnering with them as well."

Palo Alto Networks is looking even earlier in the pipeline, with a partnership with the Girl Scouts. Girls in grades starting with kindergarten will be able to work on their cybersecurity badges starting this coming September.


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