The need to recruit qualified workers for cybersecurity positions has been increasing as cybercrime has become more prevalent throughout society. The demand for positions in this sector is being further increased, as there is a scarcity of qualified candidates applying for these positions.
This lack of candidates is problematic, as there is an increasing workforce gap in the cybersecurity field. Companies on the hunt for qualified individuals are now competing against one another for a very limited number of qualified individuals. This competition can be handled by either increasing a company’s competitive advantage or by reassessing what qualities a candidate must possess to do well in this field.
With roughly 40% of people in the cybersecurity field having a degree, perhaps less weight needs to be placed on formal education. It may be the real qualities and characteristics of an individual that should be determined by talents that are outside of the box and that could bring something new to the table. Candidates without formal training are also better able to be trained to the company’s standards. They come in with no previous skills which can be advantageous to the company.
What qualities or characteristics, outside of a degree, should a recruiter be looking for?
Certificates such as CISSP or CCNA/CCNP come with unique requirements and are good indicators of a candidate’s knowledge and skill level. How recent a certification has been awarded is also useful in determining the current abilities, motivation, and engagement a candidate has for the cybersecurity field.
- Members of Cybersecurity Organizations
Professionals of the cybersecurity industry are likely involved in cybersecurity organizations. Having an active membership is a good indicator that a candidate is interested, dedicated, and engaged with both cybersecurity changes and practices.
- Non-traditional Education
Programs offered by institutions outside of four-year universities can be good indicators of an applicant’s commitment, motivation, and interest in the cybersecurity field. Training offered by government facilities, associate degrees from community colleges, and 8-week training programs offered online can all be used as a means to achieve an education in cybersecurity that is not obtained by taking the traditional education route.
- Soft Skills are Transferable
Soft skills are skills that are obtained through different means other than technical training. They are skills that can be learned from various positions and life experiences. Some soft skills which are useful in the cybersecurity field are detail-oriented, analytical, and adaptable. These are skills are critical for cyberattacks and other high-pressure cybersecurity situations. The ability to think critically, collaborate, and strategize with team members are also essential skills that can be obtained from different experiences outside of the education sector.
To attract the right candidates for the position, recruiters in the cybersecurity field need to think differently. They need to realize that formal education is not the only way to find candidates who will have particularly needed skill sets. There is a growing demand for cybersecurity candidates, and now is the time to step outside of the box to find the right people for the job.