Employers can solve the skills gap by first recognizing that there isn’t an archetypal “cybersecurity job” in the same way that there isn’t an archetypal “automotive job.” Here’s how.
It feels like every day, there’s another article citing the “cybersecurity skills shortage” as an obstacle to filling needed security jobs for the next decade. I disagree. There isn’t a significant skills gap. There is a market mismatch. Most employers aren’t looking at the people who are actually available; they toss up their hands, credit the skills shortage, and move on. But what’s really going on?
First off, the idea of cybersecurity skills is a pretty one-dimensional view of the landscape of what the modern worker needs to bring to the table. Sometimes, it evokes the image of a black-hoodied hacker who can break applications; or maybe the security operations center (SOC) analyst watching alerts from the application security tool that monitors that application.
Even these two workers have skills that aren’t really parallel. A hacker could be seen as just a quality assurance engineer, testing the negative space of an application (what it shouldn’t do), while the SOC analyst is an operator/incident manager, looking for anomalous operations and following time-tested investigative steps to understand what’s happening. So, how did we get to a belief in an insurmountable skills gap?