SANS Institute Identifies Cyber-Defenders of the Future

The SANS Institute has confirmed the 32 candidates selected to take part in its UK Cyber Academy intensive training course.

The candidates, SANS reports, consist of seven new graduates, 21 people already working in related technical industries, and four from outside the industry, including former military personnel.

The final group was whittled down from an entrant pool of 24,000, each of which completed aptitude tests and a series of interviews in order to win a £30,000 scholarship for the course.

Halfway through the Cyber Academy course, employers will have the chance to tap into this elite pool of talent at SANS’s first recruitment fair. In advance, employers will get a chance to see anonymized profiles based on the candidates’ performance in the application process, in order to build up an idea of individuals’ suitability for certain roles.

Steve Jones, UK MD of SANS, said: “These students come from all walks of life, but represent the top cybersecurity talent in the UK. They have already proven they have the potential to become the top cybersecurity professionals of the future, but after the Cyber Academy training they will be ready to meet any cybersecurity challenge an organization has to offer.”

The Cyber Academy was created in order to get the potential cyber-defenders of the future swiftly up to speed with real world skills and experience so that can walk straight into cybersecurity jobs after just eight-weeks intensive training.

The initiative is part of an industry-wide project to tackling the major skills gaps in the industry. One recent study predicted the global workforce shortfall for security could reach 1.5 million by 2020.

For the course, candidates will learn hard technical skills, as well as soft negotiation and communication skills. On completion, they will sit the prestigious and internationally-recognized Certified Incident Handler (GCIH) and Security Essentials (GSEC) certifications.

One successful candidate, Alex Holland, who is currently studying law at King’s College London explained the appeal of the course: “If you are new to industry it is difficult to know how to reach employers so this initiative is a fantastic opportunity. Not only does it provide a new route into the industry, it also matches employees with the employment opportunities they are best suited to.”

Another successful applicant, systems operations manager Matthew Teller, said: “The Academy appeals because it compresses everything into a short course and provides the practical depth that academic courses can’t. The difficulty with breaking into the cyber security industry is that the majority of companies recruiting for these roles want someone with practical experience and there are very few practical training opportunities around.”

The Cyber Academy kicks off on 31 August, and is hosted at St David’s Hotel, Cardiff.

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