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(ISC)² invests in professional development of security workforce

Security industry association sets up Professional Development Institute to extend training offerings beyond certification

(ISC)2, the non-profit membership association for certified cyber security professionals, has announced the founding of its Professional Development Institute (PDI) to provide continuing cyber security education of its members and associates free of charge.

The PDI is aimed at helping to enhance members’ skills and abilities by providing access to continuing professional education (CPE) opportunities to augment the knowledge they have gained throughout their careers.

The institute is also aimed at addressing the findings of recent research from the (ISC)2 2018 Cybersecurity workforce study, which showed that the top two most important initiatives for an organisation to offer cyber security professionals are paying for professional certification expenses and offering training.

Respondents also indicated that cyber security training is most important for advancing and maintaining a career, rather than beginning one.

“For 30 years,(ISC)2 has been preparing cyber security professionals for our rigorous certifications, and now we are also investing in the essential learning that comes after certification,” said (ISC)2 CEO David Shearer.

“The Professional Development Institute is a recognition that cyber security education is a lifelong journey, and that achieving professional certification, while important, is only one stop along the way.

“These new CPE opportunities are enriching and rewarding and provide valuable, topical insights that will help our members continue to grow and progress.”

(ISC)2 plans to add 18 new staff members over the next two years to its more than 160 existing global employees as part of the PDI initiative to manage content development, curriculum building, quality control, communications, logistics and administration for the institute. 

The association also plans to build a video production studio in its Clearwater, Florida headquarters to produce content for courses featuring leading cyber security professionals.

The PDI builds on the 2018 pilot of three professional development courses provided to members and associates at no additional fee. Topics included GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) for Security Professionals, DevSecOps and Building a Strong Culture of Security.

Focus groups and member surveys provided insight into the professional development needs of security professionals and will continue to inform the evolution of the PDI’s curriculum strategy, said the association. Member subject matter experts will guide the development of course material, supported by a team of adult education experts and creative professionals, it added.

Read more about the cyber security skills shortage

“This will enable (ISC)2 to develop a robust catalogue of CPE courses and offerings with the ability to continuously refresh that catalogue based on clearly articulated member need,” the association said in a statement. “In 2019 alone, up to 30 new courses will be released as part of the portfolio.”

The PDI courses will be available online to help members maintain a work-life balance, the association said.

“Cyber security is not a nine-to-five profession,” said Shearer, “and one of the biggest challenges facing our members is that it can be difficult for them to find time and opportunities to continue to enhance their skills while also dealing with a dynamic threat environment.

“Time constraints and cost are two burdens that we are trying to alleviate for members and associates with PDI, while ensuring that these CPE opportunities have learning objectives that are clearly aligned with current industry challenges.”

(ISC)2 said the PDI courses are also available for a “competitive price” to non-members and the general public. 

One of the biggest challenges facing the cyber security community today is a global shortage of skilled and trained professionals to defend organisations against the evolving onslaught of cyber threats. 

In January 2019, the UK government announced it would fund four projects across England to encourage more diverse candidates into cyber security jobs.

The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport said it would invest £500,000 across the projects to get more women, BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) and neurodiverse talent into cyber careers.

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