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How to Solve the Security Skills Shortage

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At RSA, security professionals weighed in on how to close the security skills gap -- if there is one -- and solve staffing problems.

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JasonSachowski
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JasonSachowski,
User Rank: Author
3/27/2014 | 7:51:44 AM
Hire Character, Train Skill
By hiring people who are not neccessarily qualified but demonstrate the capabilities of growing, we can get a better mix of different SME levels to create skills that can be adapted across multiple domains.  While there is no distinguishing skills or experiences that are relevant to being an Information Security Professional, the ability to navigate both technical and business settings is important.
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
3/27/2014 | 8:48:38 AM
Re: Hire Character, Train Skill
"While there is no distinguishing skills or experiences that are relevant to being an Information Security Professional"

Jason, what's your view of credentials like CISSP certification or completion of courses in the SANS Curriculum. Shouldn't demonstration of at least a baseline knowledge of InfoSec be a prerequisite for hiring? Or is that a given. 
lafritz65
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lafritz65,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/27/2014 | 11:17:20 AM
Re: Hire Character, Train Skill
What would you recommend for someone who wants to break into the Infosec industry?  I have had an interest for years, but do not have any IT security experience, just basic familiarity from working with security professionals and following the industry on sites like Dark Reading for years.  It has been recommended more than once that I get CISSP certified, which I am seriously considering, but I wanted to know your take on it.
Sara Peters
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Sara Peters,
User Rank: Author
3/27/2014 | 12:32:06 PM
Re: Hire Character, Train Skill
@lafritz65  Unfortunately you can't receive the CISSP certification until you've worked in security for at least five years. It's one of those catch-22 situations -- how do you get the security job without the certification and how do you get the certification without the job? The infosec industry just doesn't have a clear career path with entry-level positions.

But that shouldn't stop you from taking the courses! Or from applying for security jobs even if you don't seem to fit the requirements listed in the job posting. You've clearly got the motivation, and that is something that every job needs. Good luck!
mcook300
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mcook300,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/27/2014 | 1:35:17 PM
Re: Hire Character, Train Skill
Don't let the experience requirement prevent you from taking the exam.  If someone comes to me and HAS passed the CISSP exam - that shows they know a lot about the MANY areas of Security, and have demonstrated a committment to the Profession or Career (that's another post).  I'd be happy to give that person the opportunity to gain that experience.
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
3/27/2014 | 2:24:38 PM
Re: Hire Character, Train Skill
@lafritz What field are you working in now? Is there an IT department where you can apply for an entry level job and pick up some basic skills?  What are some strategies others on this message board can recomment...
Gurgle
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Gurgle,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/27/2014 | 2:26:28 PM
Skills shortage- Personal experience
This one is happening right now though where I work. We have the standard Skill Ladder tree in Job Descriptions for the technical side. Tech, Engineer and Architect. (With jr, sr, principal sub-levels)

It is not the issue of getting past HR. It is the skill set shallowness which we are faced. Most have Network, anti-malware or SysAdmin Security skills. But when looking for higher level skill sets of appSec, PKI, Incident Response,ISO2700x, etc. we have consistent lack of skills in ANY of the candidates.

There are lots of junior and a good number of middle level skills. But above that, it is sad.

If I had a recommendation to someone starting now, Go after DB Sec, AppSec, PKI, or similar. Incident Response or Forensics may be "sexy", they are not where the Skills and money really will be long term.
JasonSachowski
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JasonSachowski,
User Rank: Author
3/27/2014 | 2:45:38 PM
Re: How to Solve the Security Skills Shortage
Accreditations are an excellent way of validating your committment to becoming a professional in a given competency.  Getting involved in the InfoSec community, such as attending public workgroups, is a good place to network with SME's of all different backgrounds to learn some of the disciplines, concepts, and methodologies.

Additionally, there are other industry certifications available that you could aim for that do not require lengthy experience.  These can be used as stepping stones in gradually demonstrating your committment towards achieving the larger accreditations.
tmccreight
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tmccreight,
User Rank: Apprentice
3/27/2014 | 10:28:45 PM
Bringing in new perspectives
I've enjoyed reading the posts and viewing the video from RSA.  Most security professionals who've been in the business for a decade or so have seen the pool of resources slowly dwindle, yet the requirements for positions continually increase over the same time span.

I agree with the comments that Marcus made in the video - we need to look outside the industry sometimes to find a different perspective.  I've made that judgement call, and was pleasantly surprised with the results.  I selected someone with a business and analytics background and trained them in InfoSec.  They did some amazing work on analyzing the mass of data we collected daily, and were able to translate this into business value.  Not bad for a junior hire!
Marilyn Cohodas
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Marilyn Cohodas,
User Rank: Strategist
3/28/2014 | 1:25:19 PM
Re: Bringing in new perspectives
Tim, What's your opinion on the emphasis on STEM curriculum for budding security professionals. Do you think they need a smattering of liberal arts to make them more well-rounded and skilled at thinking outside the box?
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