Governments and organisations around the world are in pursuit of cyber professionals who have the skills to secure their data, but there just aren’t enough to go around. Initiatives such as cyber internships, apprenticeships and vocational courses are popping up to address the skills shortage, making this the perfect time for those who thought it was too late to learn something new, to reconsider!
Johnny Whitaker is not the usual type of intern you’d expect, and he definitely does more than hang around making coffee. “J” as he prefers to be called is a 38-year-old husband and father. He has worked for 10 years before going back to school and graduating with a computer science qualification which enabled him to pursue a degree from Georgia Regents University.While attending the university, Whitaker saw an internship for Savannah River Remediation in cyber security and he found this to be a great opportunity to learn and grow in a field he had not previously considered. Whitaker explained that “You don’t normally get this type of experience early on in your college career.” However, cyber is one of those few industries these days that is growing fast and the need for news skills is reflected in the fact that SRR, owned by the U.S. Department of Energy, has employed 43 interns at varying levels.
Johnny is not alone in his successful leap into the unknown world of cyber. An increasing amount of technology enthusiasts in the UK, young and old, are learning on the job. Edwin Bentley is a cyber security software programmer at Titania, a UK company who provide their cyber software to Government Departments and Agencies around the world.
Though Bentley was a young man with no previous cyber experience or qualifications when he joined the company 2 years ago, this hasn’t put him at a disadvantage. The key to success is to ‘get enthusiastic about it’ says Bentley, and ‘one of the best and most challenging aspects of working in the industry is how fast things change and how quickly you have to adapt. This means that you need a real willingness to learn and develop.’ If you can meet these criteria it’s likely that cyber companies and departments will want to hear from you, regardless of age or experience