The cyber gap, the difference between the demand for cyber security professionals and their supply, is projected to reach 1.8million by 2022, with women currently only make up 20% of the industry’s workforce.
Women in Cyber, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport sponsored training programme, converts candidates into an entry level cyber security professional, with employment guaranteed before training starts.
Candidates just need to demonstrate aptitude for this kind of work (both technical and non-technical) and the training aims to do the rest.
The stated goal is to empower large numbers of women who are looking to convert, or to start a new or different career, to use PGI’s state-of-the-art Cyber Academy and training programme expertise to move seamlessly into a profession where they are badly needed.
It is hoped that this initial programme will be followed by a much larger roll-out.
The candidates do not necessarily need previous experience or qualifications; only aptitude, say organisers.
Everything they learn in the 10 to 12-week programme equips them for an entry level career in the industry, opening the talent pool for security professionals, reducing cost to hire and reducing cost to deliver.
PGI’s programme design involves:
1. Targeting female candidates and their representative bodies, regardless of technical background.
2. Target more forward-thinking employers who are looking to hire cyber security professionals.
3. Online selection process gauging the aptitude of candidates for cyber security careers.
4. Further assessment and an interview, leading to an offer of employment by partner employers.
5. Candidate completion of a 10 to 12-week cyber security training programme, with options for some home learning and targeted child-care support available.
6. Subsequent deployment within employers as Information Security Specialists, Governance, Regulation and Compliance officers, SOC analysts and Penetration Testers.
Brian Lord, PGI’s Managing Director said: “The demand for cyber security specialists is at an all-time-high. I refuse to sign up to the industry’s self-serving charade that only those with special technical skills can enter the profession.
“No-one doubts there are jobs where deep technical expertise is required, but there are many more that are either non-technical or require a basic entry level technical knowledge that can be taught.
“35 percent of organisations are unable to fill open security jobs, even though 82 percent expect to be attacked this year, and the industry is killing itself by creating artificial barriers to entry for 50% of the working population.
“We already have some progressive employers who both agree with this principle and have signed up to the programme.
“We have tested it with success in the UK and abroad and so know it works.
“This is the driving force behind the partnership between PGI & Hawker Chase, to ‘create’ the necessary diverse talent to transform a profession, and the world in which it operates, into something less opaque, less scaremongering and more normal.”
The success of the programme has already been demonstrated through a pilot of mixed-gender veterans from a variety of backgrounds who wanted to convert to the cyber security profession and in the banking industry in the Middle East.
PGI is running a research project alongside the programme to analyse the best way in which this methodology can be scaled across the industry to help address the broader cyber security skills gap and kill the gender gap once and for all.