Cultivating the Future: How Companies Can Foster the Next Generation of Cybersecurity Talent

Blog by Jan Carroll, Fortify Institute.

In an era where digital frontiers are continuously expanding, the demand for skilled cybersecurity professionals has skyrocketed. Yet, the gap between the need for expertise and the available talent pool remains wide. Companies, large and small, play a crucial role in bridging this divide. Through proactive engagement and support, they can not only enrich the ecosystem but also cultivate the future guardians of our digital world. This blog outlines practical ways companies can encourage young people and returners to enter the cybersecurity industry. Many are by offering resources, expertise and support to individuals or organisations and groups. 

1. Offer Use of your Premises

Offering company premises for meetups and knowledge-sharing events can break down barriers between the corporate and learning environments. These spaces can serve as fertile ground for inspiration, allowing aspiring cybersecurity professionals to network with peers and industry veterans. Bonus points if you include beer and pizza but not expected.

2. Training and Mentoring

By providing staff for training sessions and mentoring, companies can offer direct pathways for learning and development. Mentorship programs, in particular, can tailor guidance and support, fostering a nurturing environment for aspiring professionals.

3. Sponsoring Events and Competitions

Sponsoring cybersecurity events, hackathons, and competitions is a win-win; it supports the community’s growth while highlighting a company’s commitment to advancing industry standards and innovation. These events encourage practical learning and can uncover hidden talents.

4. Encouraging Participation Through Volunteers

Encouraging staff to volunteer for cybersecurity workshops and career talks can spark interest among young people and returners. Volunteers can share real-world experiences, demystifying the industry and showcasing the diverse paths within cybersecurity.

5. Opening Doors with Internships and Reboot Programs

Offering internships and specially designed “reboot” programs for returners can provide crucial hands-on experience. These opportunities allow individuals to apply their theoretical knowledge in real-world settings, enhancing their employability. Then hire them. 

6. Supporting Education with Scholarships

Scholarships for cybersecurity courses can remove financial barriers to education. By investing in scholarships, companies can ensure that talented individuals have the opportunity to pursue their passions regardless of their economic background.

7. Donating Resources for Learning

The donation of books, software, and equipment can significantly impact under-resourced learners. Access to up-to-date materials and tools is essential for practical learning and skill development in the rapidly evolving field of cybersecurity.

8. Creating Awareness and Inspiring through Social Media

Leveraging social media platforms to highlight stories, achievements, and pathways within the cybersecurity realm can inspire and attract diverse talents. Sharing insights and opportunities can demystify the field and encourage participation from a broader audience. Share your team’s stories and journeys. Career Stories

9. Establishing Partnerships with Educational Institutions

Building partnerships with schools, colleges, and universities can create a pipeline of talent. Collaborative programs, guest lectures, and curriculum development initiatives can align educational outcomes with industry needs.

10. Advocating for Diversity and Inclusion

Promoting diversity and inclusion within cybersecurity roles can enrich the industry with varied perspectives and innovative solutions. Companies should actively seek to remove barriers and foster an environment where everyone, regardless of background, feels welcomed and valued.

The path to a more secure digital future is a collective journey. By adopting these strategies, companies can play a pivotal role in nurturing the next wave of cybersecurity talent. The investment in young people and returners today will pay dividends in securing our digital world tomorrow.