With the recent rise of cybercrime, both in rates and sophistication, one would expect that many more cybersecurity professionals are being hired by companies to help curb the cybercriminals.
However, this isn’t the case. Cybersecurity jobs actually do exist, and in large numbers at that - there are nearly 3 million unfilled cybersecurity posts currently - and so do the professionals to fill up these posts, but unfortunately companies are simply not hiring them.
Why Aren’t Companies Hiring Cybersecurity Graduates?
Companies feel that current cybersecurity programs are outdated and don’t provide graduates with the baseline set of skills needed or prepare them for real work in the industry. Hence, students come out of these programs lacking the fundamental knowledge of computing and information security which hiring managers consider to be essential for new recruits to start work immediately without further on the job training.
They further state that cybersecurity graduates lack the hands-on experience needed to succeed in the industry. This is because the programs focus more on theory and book learning than practical education, therefore, failing to equip students with tangible skills needed to succeed.
The greatest need, currently, is for highly skilled people with deep technical training to take on critical roles of secure system design (network security specialists or security administrators), developing sophisticated and secure tools, and penetration testing to find hidden vulnerabilities in their software. Yet, most of the students graduating from the cybersecurity and computer science programs are only qualified for entry-level jobs.
Another reason companies are not hiring recent cyber grads is lack soft skills-communication, problem solving and teamwork- which some employers find more important than the hard skills as they make employees more effective. Knowing how to work in a team is vital because cyber professionals work in groups and not as individuals.
Problem solving skills are essential because they form the basis for effective cybersecurity work. Additionally, a successful cybersecurity professional needs to know how to communicate both orally and in writing their findings and recommendations to the high-ups and the business.
What Should Cybersecurity Graduates do to Close the Gap?
Seek apprenticeships, internships, cybersecurity competitions, and cyber ranges to not only get the practical experience needed by organizations, but to also learn how to work with a team and communicate with others in the industry.
Those students planning to enroll in cybersecurity programs should apply for colleges that offer practical experience in addition to theory and are also locally recognized, such as the Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations (CAE-CO) in the U.S. This will enable them graduate with the necessary skills needed and the ability to effectively tackle the problems faced by today’s companies.
Another option is to take a retainer course to attain the skills and experience necessary to become work-ready and to fill the ever-growing cybersecurity skills gap. An example of such a course is the one offered by the UK Cyber Retraining Academy which takes on people without formal background in cybersecurity through a 10 week intensive training program to prepare them for transition into cybersecurity careers.
Can’t find the right cybersecurity professional?
Let the experts at ASB Resources help! As one of the best human capital providers in the country, we have the tools and resources to help build a cyber security team to shield your company’s operations against the ever-growing risk of cybercrime. Schedule some time with us today!