Closing the Skills Gap in the Cybersecurity Industry

With the growing level of cyberattacks and the increased amount of disruption caused to businesses worldwide, the demand for cybersecurity specialists is now very high. Along with other authorities, the UK government has invested significant money into cybersecurity to try and prevent cyberattacks.

However, due to cybersecurity being a relatively new career choice, there is a shortage of job candidates with the required cybersecurity skills and experience.

Recent years have seen the introduction of strategies have to help close the skills gap, such as cyber education for children as young as 8, an initiative launched by the National Cyber Security Centre.

While these types of interventions are welcomed and will see benefits in the future, their impact in the here and now is limited.

Solutions that should generate faster results include the introduction of bursary schemes, degree apprenticeships and free places on Cyberfirst courses at UK universities and colleges.

For businesses, the main challenge will be to recruit the next generations of cybersecurity professionals, find ways to attract the best candidates and improve cybersecurity awareness within their existing workforce.

How you can help close the skills gap

These are some of the top solutions for helping to close the cybersecurity skills gap:

Drive awareness of cybersecurity career opportunities

Regardless of the sector, every organisation has a crucial role in driving greater awareness of the many opportunities available for pursuing cybersecurity roles. Think beyond the network of cyber professionals that you might typically utilise to fill a role and consider hiring an additional entry-level position where experience is not necessarily required, and a young person can develop skills on the job.

Invest in cybersecurity training

Businesses cannot rely on simply recruiting external cybersecurity specialists alone; they also need to look at better ways of developing cybersecurity knowledge within their existing workforce.

Focus on skills

A lot of traditional training concentrates on developing knowledge about cybersecurity rather than developing skills such as detecting and mitigating cyberattacks. Businesses that focus more on developing these skills will be better protected from cyber threats.

Provide hands-on experience

Cybersecurity students should be able to get hands-on experience of the activities involved in cybersecurity roles, not just classroom or online training. Getting work experience with businesses can help to ensure newly trained cybersecurity professionals understand how to apply their knowledge in real-life scenarios.

For businesses trying to develop cybersecurity skills for existing employees, mentoring opportunities with cybersecurity professionals can help build hands-on experience.

Establish diverse teams

Diversity within teams can also be very beneficial to cybersecurity. People with different backgrounds and experiences can provide broader perspectives, leading to more fresh ideas and opinions. Through this greater mix of perspectives, businesses can develop more robust cybersecurity strategies and many other business benefits.

How the YCSC are helping…

The YCSC works with schools, colleges, universities, and information security professional bodies to help develop the solutions above. Through our collaborative projects and initiatives, we are helping to ensure young people in Yorkshire have many opportunities to pursue successful careers in cybersecurity and we are a driving force in closing the skills gap.

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