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Cyber skill query

The Coalition Government’s former security minister, Baroness Pauline Neville-Jones, has said that the UK cyber security skills base is “wholly inadequate”.  In a lecture at the Global Strategy Forum she called for a teaching programme that better prepares students for a career in the security industry.

Director of strategy at Sophos, James Lyne (Twitter: @jameslyne), has made the following comments:

“The IT security skills gap in today’s workforce is a fundamental problem in creating the cyber experts of the future.  Although a change to the GCSE IT course is an encouraging start, it is long overdue and change is needed across the entire academic lifecycle to rectify the talent gap.

“Introducing understanding of fundamentals, such as logic or basic programming will be a good foundation to build interest, but this will need to be built upon in courses and skills development all the way up to university level.  Graduate programmes, and other such ways of junior cyber experts gaining initial experience, also need to be focussed on, as classroom development alone will also not be sufficient.  Many of the best cyber experts in the industry today are passionately interested in tinkering and playing with technology to understand what makes it tick.  It is a mindset we need to encourage, not just a text book knowledge.

“As much as development of academic training is required, we also need to “sell” the profession early on so that people know it is an interesting, fun and viable career path. It is cool to be a geek and these are skills UK PLC needs!”
Briefly, in her talk Baroness Neville-Jones praised the Government’s cyber security strategy, saying that it was well-conceived, but that it was a work in progress.   She said that the threat environment was long-range and continuing to grow and that the Government needed to get more speed and momentum behind its implementation to ensure that the public and business were fully aware of the importance of the issue.  She said that an operational partnership with the private sector was central to the Government’s approach – it could not do it all by itself, but that it must take the lead.

You can listen to the talk on this link to the forum website.


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