Labor Shortage in Cyber Security

Business Speak

While cybersecurity grows, businesses are facing a severe cybersecurity labor shortage.   With a huge growth in the cybersecurity industry the need for qualified security professionals has dramatically increased, leaving many companies vulnerable to attacks.  Although experts have been tracking cybersecurity for more than a decade the series of recent attacks on major digital security companies has been a wakeup call for many companies, adding to the shortage even more. 


Phelim Rowe


Join Phelim and Harry as they chat about the labor shortage and what they predict.



Video Transcription

Harry Brelsford  0:06 

Hey nation nation, Harry here back with Phelim How you doing, man?

Phelim Rowe  0:09 

Let's go on on doing well doing well things are looking up in the UK, but we're still in a bit of a lockdown not too much, not too much What about you?

Harry Brelsford  0:20 

Oh, just getting getting busier, I'll tell you it feels like it's getting back to normal had a little travel last week and the the airports are crowded The plane was crowded as goofy. So, hey, I want to talk about so part of my travel let me give you the context of this month's topic, um, labor in cybersecurity. I actually went out for a long weekend my youngest son graduated from Cal Poly and fornia. Thank you got him across the finish line. And he starts a job with one of our friends that the family 14 that he starts on July 12 in Sunnyvale, down in the Silicon Valley in cybersecurity, and he'll start a pair of I believe it's a co seven employees will start that day. So it's a cohort, it's the real deal. In it, I went up on the 40. net site, and they have 900 job openings. And then I've done a little bit of reading, right, I kind of poking around the internet, and the cybersecurity areas, one of the hottest areas and technology. But there's arguments, there's a labor shortage for cybersecurity, your thoughts on that?

Phelim Rowe  1:38 

There is a labor shortage. But why is there a labor shortage? That's maybe where people don't agree. Because there is a school of thought to say you're just not developing your own stuff somewhere else in the company, which have potential. And there's another school of thought to say there are experts out there. But the way that you sift CVS, or you employ some sort of AI to sift CVS means that you lose people. So some people, when they're looking for diverse candidates, they say that there is a show skills bottleneck. But there's one of my good friends who runs an association in Texas for diverse talent says there's not a there's not a shortage at all. They're all they're looking for work. It's just the parameters you set. So yeah, there's there is a skill shortage. But there's another problem. How do you prove that you have the skills, and a lot of people gravitate towards doing a master's in cyber security or this and that, but how many people in cybersecurity have cybersecurity masters? Not that many? Correct? Right. They do it as icing on cake. It's a bit of a navel gazing exercise, and equally, a lot of people inside but don't have the skills to code. Which I mean, might put you off, if you think oh, no, I have to learn Ruby, Python and everything else, but you don't. So it's a roundabout way of saying there is a skill shortage, but the world disagrees about why.

Harry Brelsford  3:12 

Yeah, yeah. I would concur. Yeah, my son has tried to sound precise. Now this is his first real job, right? I mean, real job. And, and I believe that his co-workers had fallen to the same camp. So he's going to go through a pretty formal training program over the summer, which I like, right, I think that first job. You know, there's some companies that we're really famous for their training programs, like Procter and Gamble, and IBM. So that's cool, right? You got to learn how work works. But his major was FinTech or financial technology in the Department of Economics. And, you know, you would have thought he was going down a very different pathway, but because of the labor shortage, and I could go on and on about this, you know, do we all do what we got our college degree? And the answer is absolutely not. Life happens to college degrees, a good foundation, at the four year level, you know, it makes it, it rounds out would be one nice way to put it. But, um, so he's going to get trained, and then he's not a coder. Now, he has taken some of the languages in the dashboarding because of FinTech, right, but he's not really a programmer. And so they're going to put him over in business development, probably in what they call sled state and local government in what a sled is state local education, and I think federal, somewhere in there, but it basically covers the the the government sector, and so he's pretty excited. I mean, that obviously is where a lot of the action of this in terms of ransomware and so on. But, yeah, it'll be interesting to track his pathway um, You know, they're there. It was cool that they're hiring. They're thinking outside the box and they're hiring Phelim that, you know, you to your point, you don't have to have a certificate or a master's in cybersecurity, because they wouldn't be able to hire enough people.

Phelim Rowe  5:18 

Yeah. And you could argue that a master's in cyber isn't the skills that you need for cyber. It's a little bit like someone that's been in the military doing a master's in war studies. It is good for strategy is good for navel gazing. But is it what you need for hands on operations? I don't know. Maybe some, but then you make a great point with the example of your son embarking on a career in business development. People say there's a shortage in cyber, but they forget to also say did you know it's an HR role, or it's a BD role, or it's an evangelist role, or it's a marketing role, as well as some of the operational sock analysts and, and so on. And you know what that that that has been a little bit of a beef, you see a beef in LinkedIn and Twitter, between the technical cyber colleagues and the non technical ones, because people arrive in their job and they want to, you know, show the world what they're doing and say, Look, this is me, and this is my profession. But there is a little nervousness from the technical colleagues that say, but you don't have any technical background. And that's where I think they forget that that cyber community is bigger than, you know, a coder. It's bigger than then then a sysadmin.

Harry Brelsford  6:44 

No, absolutely. I'll end on that note. It's it's a little bit like oilfield services. So people think oil, and they think the Derrick's and the rigs, right? You know, the little sawhorses that go up and down and all that. No, no, it's not. oilfield services includes, like security guards that drive around and pickup trucks right to guard the facility. It's a huge industry. And I would offer cybersecurity resembles that. I mean, think about it, if the 40 net campus in Sunnyvale, with that rate of hiring and that number of open jobs, very simple example. But the employee cafeteria will have to have more people working in the cafeteria to feed these people, right. I mean, it's it's a multiplier effect. Hey, before we go, what what's your next show what's going on, I see that you're still you're still pretty active. We have one coming up in the near term.

Phelim Rowe  7:44 

I've got basically one every week, higher. I've got a German event this week. And I've got the Los Angeles County on the 30th of June. I'm going to do my first physical event in Phoenix, August 19. Although the jury's out on whether we'll be allowed in, I've got people locally to do it. But but but i think i think that's that's a good message that we're gonna continue these virtual events, because they are so handy, but they get something different to what we offer on the physical side. And I think there's going to then they're going to remain. Oh, yeah,

Harry Brelsford  8:21 

yeah, no, you know, knowledge is power. And All right. Well, man, you're you're busy. Um, we'll see you next time. Thank you very much for being a regular contributor. You always bring something to the table.

Phelim Rowe  8:32 

Thank you. Thanks. Have a great meeting with you. All right.