RSA Europe: Security market must close skills gap, warns (ISC)²

Help wanted

Graduates will face a tough time securing an IT security job, the UK managing director of IT industry body (ISC) has warned.

Speaking at the RSA Europe conference in London, John Colley said the information security industry will have problems getting more trainees and graduates into security jobs.

He said getting them interested in IT security was one thing but "knowing what to do with them once they have shown some interest" is an even bigger problem.

"There is no phase two," Colley warned.

Colley said IT security firms were reluctant to employ trainees, even ones with qualifications, as they needed so much supervision at the beginning.

"Trainees negatively impact on productivity sometimes," he added.

"This is a big problem and I'm not sure that it is well understood.

Colleges and universities have a role to play in ensuring that information security is part of the computer science curriculum taught in academic institutions.

"Graduates should come out of university with some degree of security knowledge," he advised.

The skills gap has been at the forefront of the (ISC) agenda. The organisation estimates that the IT security workforce would have to double from its size in 2010 by 2015.

Unemployment within the industry currently stands at less than four per cent and demand for suitable professionals is rising.

"Where are all these people going to come from?" asked Colley. "Full employment is good news and bad news for the profession...because it can cause massive salary expectations and short-staffed teams that take on extra workloads."

Colley said a concerted effort is needed to develop a healthy job market for the security profession, and to support people moving into the industry and help managers spot undeveloped talent.

Rene Millman

Rene Millman is a freelance writer and broadcaster who covers cybersecurity, AI, IoT, and the cloud. He also works as a contributing analyst at GigaOm and has previously worked as an analyst for Gartner covering the infrastructure market. He has made numerous television appearances to give his views and expertise on technology trends and companies that affect and shape our lives. You can follow Rene Millman on Twitter.