What #Cyberrecoded Can Do for Future Stars

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This week saw the launch of a new conference aimed at the shortage of skilled professionals in the cybersecurity industry, and aiming to bring together those looking for a job and those looking to hire.

Named Cyber Recoded and organized by the team behind the Cyber Security Challenge, the conference offered a fresh spin on the visitor experience, with education, gaming, interactive learning and exhibitors looking to offer jobs. As a partner of the conference, Infosecurity attended and we were directly involved in two of the discussions – one focused on starting a career in cybersecurity and one on tackling the challenges around diversity.

The educational content covered the majority of the current trends and talking points: the human aspect, getting past the gatekeepers and getting your name seen, getting into offensive security, certifications, apprenticeships and a series of presentations from those who have succeeded in getting a job – and how they managed it.

The concept of apprenticeships came up a lot, and Dr Andy Lilly of Armour Comms highlighted the benefits of apprenticeships – such as being paid to earn and gain training, as well as gaining some recognized qualifications and long-term employment opportunites

Lilly stressed the point that you “have got to have buy-in from your employer; they have to be on board with this being valuable for you” and that the employee has to “make it work for you and for it to be something you want to do” as if the scheme is a poor fit, it may drive the person away from the company and maybe even the industry altogether.

So what does this sort of conference mean for the next generation of cybersecurity stars? There are plenty of training courses out there, and as Professor Steven Furnell’s talk showed, plenty of letters to add to your name in order to impress a potential employer. However, cybersecurity has lacked this sort of forum, where employers can get face-to-face with the people they are trying to hire, and for the next generation, a chance to sound out who is looking for what.

In one panel, how to get ahead in building a network was discussed, with the speakers pointing to social groups such as hacking societies and DEF CON groups as a way to get ahead. 

All of the talks taught us one thing – that there is a definite divide between those looking to hire, and those looking for work. The educational tracks hopefully encouraged delegates to realize the opportunities, and whilst advice on apprenticeships, internships and even work experience were valuable, the problem is that there needs to be that helping hand in order to get the two sides united.

How is that enabled? Well, Cyber Recoded is a way forward, but we also need businesses to make the step up and make a better effort of showing their opportunities. In a panel, Chloe Ungar, who is a student at Leeds Beckett University and also working in an internship at Hedgehog Cyber Security, said she had initially identified the sorts of companies she wanted to work for, and if they said no, take on their feedback as to why and try again to satisfy the employer’s needs. 

However, to really get ahead requires a lot of impetus from the delegates, we need to help realize a culture of ‘can do’ for our next generation.

Overall, this conference was a really positive step forwards in reducing the skills gap, and is hopefully continued to be supported in the future.

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