What pool of top cybersecurity talent? It does not exist.

I was struck by a recent bleat that Whitehall is not “cool” enough to attract top cybersecurity talent. There is no pool of “top cyber security talent”. There are ten vacancies for every candidate. And the quality and motivation of many of the candidates is suspect – even if they have the qualifications and experience they claim – which many do not.

It is, however, probable that at least 10% of current Civil Servants have the aptitude to be turned into competent security technicians inside three months – using blended learning (a mix of intensive on-line and experiential learning and mentoring). MoJ (the source of this particular bleat) should join those who are organising “apprenticeships” for their own under-employed mature and experienced staff and/or for those who left to handle family responsibilities and are now free to return.

Next week I hope to be able to do an update blog on the current state of plans for the London Cybersecurity Skills Partnership. This appears to be  evolving into a group of major employers and training providers who wish initially to add a couple of zeros to the throughput of their talent development programmes: to meet both their own needs and the needs of those in their supply chains. They then wish to use the same approach to addressing the needs that no-one is looking at, but which will cripple the safety of the “smart society” unless we start to address them within months, not years.

Participation will be via the 21st Century Skills Group of the Digital Policy Alliance. Those wishing to discuss/admire needs/problems need not apply. We are also looking for those recruitment agencies who want to make more profit from helping clients to attract, identify and select new talent than from trying, in vain, to recruit the experienced security technicians who do not exist. I use the term technician to distinguish those capable of demonstrating practical competence from a scamateur, who confuses users into believing that mastery of jargon equates to technical, let alone professional, competence.