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Go beyond certification and acquire experience through a virtual program

Updated: May 6, 2020

For many years now, both industry leaders and targeted research have indicated that there’s a significant shortage of a plethora of cyber skills in the global workforce.

Data acquired from 2019's (ISC)² Cybersecurity Workforce Study illustrates the problem in great detail. The study was conducted between June and July 2019, from 3,237 individuals responsible for cybersecurity at work throughout North America, Europe, Latin America, and Asia-Pacific, in a wide range of industries. According to the study:

● 36% of respondents say they lack skilled and experienced cybersecurity security personnel

● 28% of respondents say they lack standard terminology for effective communication

● 27% of respondents say they lack resources to do their jobs effectively

● 26% of respondents say a lack of knowledge about cybersecurity skills within organisations has hindered their career progression

● 24% of respondents say insufficient job experience in a cybersecurity role has interfered with the progression of their careers

● Less than half of respondents started their careers in the cybersecurity field

● 34% of respondents are dissatisfied with their current job

Those statistics demonstrate that much of the cybersecurity workforce are poorly prepared for their careers, despite widespread certification, with certification erroneously perceived by some as the holy grail in getting a job, when many employers believing that a certification without experience merely shows you can study and pass a test: “You have a certificate but how can you fit in my team? What experience can you bring? Can I really put you in front of the C-Suite or regulator?”.

Steve Morgan of Cybersecurity Ventures remarked that there are millions of unfilled cybersecurity positions worldwide:

“The New York Times reports that a stunning statistic is reverberating in cybersecurity: Cybersecurity Ventures’ prediction that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs globally by 2021, up from one million positions in 2014.

The cyber employment figure has been corroborated by hundreds of media outlets, including the world’s largest, as well as industry associations, universities, governments, vendors, recruitment firms, and security experts, since our original report was published in May 2017.”

That's a grave concern indeed. Unfilled cybersecurity jobs pose a significant danger to industries and infrastructures worldwide. Cyber attacks and cyber-warfare only increase in frequency and severity as the years go on. If you've ever worked in human resources, you'd know that companies generally hire in a very lean fashion, wanting to minimise their labour costs. Therefore, if those companies have so many unfilled cybersecurity roles, those jobs are really very badly needed.

What if there was a way that prospective security practitioners could go beyond their certification programs to acquire pragmatic experience that’s greatly valued by employers? Enter Cybersecurity Academy’s 12-Week Virtual Program - mentored by Cyber professionals who are already in the front-line!

If you’re a security practitioner, are looking to enter the cyber profession or indeed are seeking rapid career progression, here’s what you have to gain from the program.

Not all cybersecurity skills are technical in nature. So the program will help you to develop professional and leadership skills including critical thinking, written communication, the ability to pivot or change to evolving workplace needs, innovation, creativity, coalition building, contextual awareness, how to make effective presentations to executives, decision making, advocacy, and teamwork. A lot of problems in the workplace are caused by an inability to communicate technical cybersecurity needs to executives and other non-technical people, outdated thinking habits, inflexibility, and an inability to maximise your talents in coordination with the talents of your colleagues. So these are really crucial “soft skills” that’ll benefit both your career and the organisation you work for. You will also build a network of peers and mentors that can support you throughout your career.

There’s a growing need to be able to understand widely implemented security frameworks. A lot of the curriculum in the 12-Week Virtual Program is based on the NIST Cybersecurity Framework. Industries around the world use the Framework to standardise and strengthen their security policies and their applications with adoption set to grow globally.. When employers see your familiarity with the NIST Cybersecurity Framework on your resume and you can speak the language of risk in the context of the sector or workplace, you'll have an advantage that many of your peers lack.

The “soft skills” and framework content taught in the 12-Week Virtual Program coalesce into vital workplace cyber skills. Contextual workplace and risk awareness will help you improve your organisation's security practices and policies in ways that are specifically useful for your particular security needs. And an understanding of job roles within your industry, why they’re needed, and why they have different skills sets will give you a career advantage whether you’re looking for entry-level work or aspire to ascend the corporate ladder.

You'll likely have many brilliant ideas over the course of your career. But your ideas won't be able to benefit your role and organisation without essential communication skills. That's another area of the 12-Week Virtual Program that really shines. You'll learn how to produce infographics, executive briefing material, succinctly written briefings, PowerPoint presentations, and videos. These skills are especially useful when dealing with academia, government agencies, and potential employers in both the private and public sectors. All learners on the course build their digital iQ4 Learner “Passport,” which consolidates the learner’s portfolio, skills, education, experience, badges and certifications and interest into a living résumé that will get you noticed and differentiated from the pack.

And if you’re looking for training on behalf of your organization, the 12-Week Virtual Program also offers many benefits for you. HR and talent sourcing are good at finding people who ae trainable but the on-boarding time and training cost to get new hires, or people hired in the past 24-months to the productivity or competency needed is a huge challenge.

The sooner new hires are effective in their roles, the more money your organisation can gain in improved productivity, sooner. Employers report that our 12-Week Virtual Program reduces on-boarding time by three to nine months. No job candidate is perfect, and no new hire has all the skills they'll need to be effective in their roles right away. Fortunately, , our virtual program can get recent hires into productivity and retain them. That'll give your organisation a competitive advantage while other companies struggle to prepare their staff for evolving cybersecurity industry needs.

Recent events have meant that many more white-collar professionals have had to work from home. Interestingly, employers are finding that employees can often work from home very productively. This 12-Week Virtual Program is ideally tailored to make the most of a cyber-intern’s productive potential outside of the traditional workplace. At about five hours per week over the twelve-week program, everything that cyber-interns need to train effectively can be done completely online, without any printed textbooks or other such traditional pragmatic limitations. And because the program takes only about five hours of a cyber-intern’s time per week, they’ll also have time to conduct their usual work tasks and otherwise enjoy their everyday lives.

Security practitioners and organisations alike have already benefited from the crucial skills that this 12-Week Virtual Program delivers – you will do too.

Authored by Kim Crawley:


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