Solving for the Cybersecurity Skills Gap

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There is a lot of concern in the cybersecurity industry around the skills gap that exists among candidates looking to fill a rapidly increasing number of positions. It is estimated that there are half a million roles looking for qualified and proficient cybersecurity professionals and the skills gap keeping these roles open puts businesses in a vulnerable position. As technology advances and hackers get more malicious, security innovations have to keep pace. Many businesses equip themselves with generic cybersecurity protection such as firewalls or enforcing monthly password changes, but this is not enough to protect from increasingly sophisticated threats. The industry needs to swing the cybersecurity pendulum from maintenance towards proactive security and the ability to respond when a cybercriminal attacks a business.  This makes the demand for savvy cybersecurity professionals incredibly urgent.

How do we address the skills gap? How do we ensure businesses are protected from technology that moves at a rapid pace while creating an environment that builds a pipeline of bright and capable cybersecurity professionals?

Here at Cingo Solutions, we believe in a culture of curiosity. A potential new-hire who is actively curious about the world around them and passionate about educating themselves on the constantly changing landscape that is cybersecurity is someone who piques our interest. Degrees and certifications are great but we also take into consideration that to excel at providing cybersecurity services, our teams have to be stacked with people who are obsessed with solving problems, are tenacious learners and thrive in a peer learning environment. 

Whether you are looking to grow your cybersecurity team or start a career in the industry, below are things we trust to build our deep bench of talent that protects the clients of Cingo Solutions.

Education is an attitude.  Earning a degree or certification in technology is fantastic and only one of the pieces we believe closes the cybersecurity skills gap. A successful cybersecurity professional requires the ability to be trainable, versatile, and confident in taking risks. This field requires employees to be headstrong and willing to stop at nothing until the root of a problem is identified and then resolved. It’s formulaic and creative with a large dose of trial and error. An innovative spirit to further technology and the security to keep it safe goes a long way. 

Soft skills are essential while hard skills are developed: Worried about how you look on paper? Much of the lack of qualified personnel needed to help develop the cybersecurity world stem from people not possessing soft skills. Soft skills are proving to be hard to find in today’s workforce but are necessary to work in the fast-paced, stressful world of cybersecurity. Team members need constant communication and patient and thoughtful insight. The type of employee that fulfills the requirements to work in cybersecurity must be willing to push frustration or ego aside and problem solve as a team. The reality is that often the problems we see in this industry are not common. We haven’t encountered that specific threat yet so the project outline, approach, and outcome won’t conform to a common guideline. Through working with your team to research and question, in time you arrive at a diagnosis; those who struggle with needing to control the outcome of a project, or want a traditional finish point of a project are often difficult to teach. If you come to a job with strong communication with peers, both learning from, and offering direction to your teammates and displaying leadership skills when necessary, employers will be more likely to take a risk on you even if you fall somewhat short on your hard skills.. 

Develop a generalized set of experiences. Falling in love with the field itself is the first step because this is what will drive a candidate to learn. Getting some generalized experience under your belt will help show that your drive can become skills. The experience involves developing a profound knowledge of hardware, networks, and software. Continually work to progress strong IT skills so you can identify the weakness of IT systems. In order to be proficient in cybersecurity we advise finding hands-on opportunities that put your knowledge under the spotlight. The generalized experience will highlight the areas that need improvement and provide a solid base for you to grow upon. This shows a willingness to break down any barriers between the candidate and the goal at hand and this is exactly the type of people needed to fill the skills gap. 

Imagination is linked to technological innovation. A person needs to have the creativity to become adaptive in IT. You can teach the hard skills to anyone but cybersecurity requires a specific mindset.