Train the cybersecurity workforce of tomorrow

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For at least a week at the Microsoft Ignite virtual conference, panelists from CyberWarrior.com and Laramie County Community College shared their views on how to help a wide range of potential hires with their skills and search for new jobs. new career opportunities in cybersecurity.

The discussion, moderated by Naria Santa Lucia, Managing Director of Digital Inclusion and U.S. Community Engagement with Microsoft Philanthropies, examined potential obstacles such as lack of inspiration, as well as the need to start early in the pipeline. education by leveraging programs that bring IT to more schools that don’t. “There is an urgency now for talent but also the angle of diversity,” she said.

Workers who left retail jobs after the start of the pandemic might wonder what will come next, Santa Lucia said. Cyber ​​security training could be a starting point for the next phase of their journey.

Potential hires can come from a multitude of backgrounds, not just the prepackaged “end products” that hiring managers tend to seek out, said Troy Amick, program director for information technology at Laramie County Community Middle School. Its programs welcome some 70% of non-traditional students who seek to change their trajectory. “They’ve had careers in retail or food service or general careers that didn’t have a solid future for them,” Amick said. Going back to school is a life-changing effort, he said, with non-traditional students building on their experiences tending to have higher success rates.

Amick said that LCCC’s computer programs offer a model of education that differs from what students may be used to. “Everything we’ve done is industry oriented and our alignment with the industry,” he said. This includes partnerships with industry for mentorships, internships, mock interviews, recruiting channels, said Amick, the industry guiding curriculum decisions. “All of our teaching staff is made up of industry professionals,” he said. “We are not professional teachers. We are people who have worked in the field.

The programs offer unique course options for a selected certification, Amick said, as well as semester-long courses for a credited degree. Students can also combine three credit degrees with additional general education courses to earn an associate’s degree. “If they’re interested in cybersecurity, network administration, and cloud virtualization, they can combine these concepts into their own degree,” he said.

All of the programs are tied to industry certifications, Amick said, and have practical applications, so students will have portfolios of work examples they can show recruiters.

Students can’t do all of the heavy lifting when it comes to creating a more inclusive and diverse pool of cybersecurity talent. “Professionals in the industry need to take a serious look at themselves and what they’re doing to actively engage and promote not just the people they hand-picked,” Amick said. For example, a technician with some desired skills may already be working within an organization and they just need an investment from the organization to continue to grow.

Military veterans

Job changers who are military veterans are well positioned to bring their mindset and skills to cybersecurity, said Reinier Moquete, Founder and CEO of CyberWarrior.com. “They have discipline, leadership skills and obviously can work very well under pressure.” He also said that non-veterans who are willing and willing to put in the time and effort can learn cybersecurity skills. CyberWarrior.com is a combination of an online learning platform, an 800-hour boot camp and a consulting services company, he said.

Moquete says diversity should be at the forefront for executives who want to ensure that the right talent pool exists as their security teams grow. “It’s not enough to just post a job posting online,” he said. “You’re really going to have to, especially for security talent, go out there and recruit proactively. ”

Today, however, many leaders often lack a good understanding of how to imbue diversity across their organizations, Moquete said, or how to motivate the work structure to adopt a more inclusive workforce. “You have to start at the top,” he said. “The leadership team needs to involve other leaders, directors and managers to help them understand that diversity is a priority. “

This involves ensuring that job applicants are properly assessed on the merits of their skills rather than being screened out by unconscious biases that can result from differences in origin. “These things sometimes hamper the ability for executives to recruit the best talent,” Moquete said.

Associated content:

CIO Agenda: Upcoming Cloud, Cybersecurity and AI Investments

Cyber ​​security in the cloud: the power of one

The cloud rights cybersecurity minefield

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