‘There’s a career in cybersecurity for everyone,’ Microsoft Security CVP says


Along sydney lakeDecember 27, 2022 at 3:53 PM

Lauren Buitta (left) is the founder of Girl Security. Vasu Jakkal is his CVP of Microsoft Security.

As the number of cyberattacks rises and the gap in the cybersecurity talent pool widens, businesses are looking more critically at the resources they need to address their growing workforce challenges. There are over 700,000 open cybersecurity positions in the United States alone.

While some high-level cybersecurity positions require advanced certifications, many entry-level positions can be filled without training. This includes upskilling courses, self-training, or on-the-job learning. While you don’t necessarily need a four-year degree or master’s degree to land a cybersecurity job, some companies and organizations are seeking community colleges and other forms of education to prepare the cyber workforce of the future. We work with institutions to develop workforce training.

said Vasu Jakkal, corporate vice president of Microsoft Security. luck.

Microsoft Security is the $15 billion cybersecurity division. luck The 500 tech giants will launch a nationwide campaign in 2021 in collaboration with U.S. community colleges, aiming to recruit and recruit 250,000 students into the cybersecurity workforce by 2025. Girl Security is a non-profit organization focused on cybersecurity workforce development for women and other minority communities, offering targeted programming. To achieve equity in the national security sector.

luck We had a roundtable discussion with Jakkal and Girl Security founder Lauren Buitta to learn about initiatives to address the cybersecurity workforce gap and how to address it.

The cybersecurity workforce gap

luck: What are the biggest challenges related to the cybersecurity workforce gap?

Buitta: We know that cybersecurity is a relatively new profession, so it’s important that people understand it. Think law or medicine, these are his specialties that have evolved over the course of more than a century. One of the main challenges is that employees are trying to acquire the skills they need to remain competitive in the global economy.

jackal: Cybersecurity is this nascent field but is growing exponentially given how the world works today. created this expanding attack surface of potential. Cybersecurity is a top priority for every organization, and cyberattacks happen to everyone. Where talent is scarce, this perfect storm is brewing. It’s also the perfect storm of opportunity. To open up incredible possibilities for women and minorities who may not necessarily feel it’s their field today.

How can the United States bridge the cybersecurity workforce gap?

Buitta: Basic cybersecurity awareness can start at home and from childhood. This includes normalizing discussions around digital security, trust and safety. Leveraging resources to revitalize public education in homes and communities is critical. There are many important lessons to be learned when looking at STEM research and what it looks like in terms of women’s representation in STEM. We need to reach a diverse population faster. That’s why our partnerships focus on critical bridges between high schools and colleges where there is a real lack of ongoing opportunities. is also important.

jackal: Today, 71% of women believe cybersecurity is too complicated for their careers. More than 25% of all adults believe that parents are more likely to direct sons to cybersecurity than daughters. These myths need to change. For cybersecurity to be a career for everyone, it must begin with myth-busting and role modeling.

We launched an initiative that promised to partner with community colleges and train 250,000 people by 2025. Entire villages need to elevate women and minorities to cybersecurity, from parents to school teachers to hiring managers to peers, peers and organizations.

What you need to know to start a career in cybersecurity

Are non-technical skills highly valued in the cybersecurity industry?

Buitta: Girl Security has always focused on what we call an enduring skill set. In our program, we reach out to girls and gender minorities and ask them what ideas they grew up with about work, school, responsibilities, or work. When a girl comes to the table, she can say things like, “My parents always told me to tell the truth,” “It’s important to work hard,” or “It’s important to cooperate with classmates.” It often happens. Cybersecurity requires collaboration, ethical decision-making and thought innovation. We really focus on some of the core skill sets that we have found to be of great value in a changing environment.

jackal: One thing we have to change is the way we talk about cybersecurity. For a long time, cybersecurity was highly technical. It was very horror-based and really dark.It has to tell a story of inspiration and hope. Because that’s what cybersecurity is for. It’s about innovation.

There is a career in cybersecurity for everyone. Security is for everyone. Whether you’re a neuroscientist or a psychologist, you need it, whether you’ve studied law or not, whether you’re an engineer or a great storyteller, you need it. There is a career in cybersecurity for everyone as cybersecurity is the true foundation of the digital world.

Cybersecurity training options

Candidates can be discouraged as companies try to recruit only cyber elites. what do you have to say about that?

Buitta: There is no doubt that these perceptions are obstacles. This is certainly the case with respect to the costs associated with certifications and certifications. The good news is that these conversations are creating a highly innovative model for rapidly equipping employees with the necessary cyber skill sets while thinking about how to minimize the cost of population. . But there is a long way to go. Girl Security also offers paid training virtually so you can access it from anywhere.

Like Microsoft, we are focused on community colleges. Save costs upfront, make fields as accessible as possible, and create a continuum to pathways. We need a low-cost, accessible pipeline that can provide jobs to those who need them. There are many jobs available. It’s just about finding people, giving them access to their messages, and providing a pipeline that leads directly to opportunities at companies like Microsoft Security.

What training is really worthwhile to start a career in cybersecurity?

Jakkal: When opportunities abound, there are many ways to enter them. There is an incredible shortage of manpower. Going back to the myth, 37% of those surveyed said they believe a college degree is required to be secure. it’s not true. No college degree required. Many security jobs don’t require a four-year college degree. You can qualify by earning a certificate that is an associate’s degree from a community college. Hence why we work with community colleges.

The cost itself can be daunting, but there are many resources. Microsoft has a large content repository available. we authenticated. These are available to anyone who wants to take them and how to train themselves to get into cybersecurity. We have a wealth of opportunities, new ways to enter, and we need to educate people on all these aspects of how to enter.

What other advice do you have for someone trying to break into cybersecurity?

Buitta: For those interested in the cybersecurity field, especially young people, we understand that the field needs them. There are potential career paths wherever they find their place . There are organizations and companies that promise to thrive in this environment. There are many resources out there. There is a lot of support out there. Employees really need that diverse community.

jackal: There is a lot of work in cybersecurity. There is work for everyone. You have to have a passion for it and you have to understand it. It is our responsibility to simplify and explain cybersecurity. My call to action is to make all young people, all girls from different groups, truly believe that there is something about cybersecurity. It’s our responsibility.

check all luck’Learn more about our degree program rankings and specific career paths.



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