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Record number enrol in UK’s Upskill in Cyber programme to kickstart cybersecurity careers | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware


A record number of people have enrolled in the UK government’s Upskill in Cyber programme to embark on a new career in cybersecurity this year. Of the more than 3,600 applications received, almost half have been submitted by women with more than 50% coming from people based outside London and the South East, the government said.

Aimed at people from a non-cyber background and delivered in partnership with the SANS Institute, the scheme is the latest in a series of ambitious programmes delivered through the government’s ?2.6 billion National Cyber Strategy. In May, the UK’s Department for Science, Innovation, and Technology (DSIT) and the SANS Institute announced the second iteration of the programme to help UK professionals make a career change into cybersecurity. The programme lasts 14 weeks and offers free training and advice to support UK workers looking to forge a cybersecurity career. First launched last year, the programme has trained over 200 students with non-cyber backgrounds, with many securing guaranteed job interviews upon successful completion of the training, according to SANS Institute.

UK cybersecurity workforce growing, more work required to address skills shortages

The UK’s cybersecurity sector is growing exponentially with its 58,000 workforce increasing by 10% in 12 months, commented Viscount Camrose, minister for AI and intellectual property. “It’s encouraging to see record numbers from a wide range of backgrounds and communities coming forward for this year’s Upskill in Cyber programme. However, this is ultimately just one piece of the puzzle.”

Government must continue its work with industry and education to improve tech skills across the economy, continuing to invest in the potential of our brightest minds at all levels to unlock opportunity for people right across the country, Camrose added.

Despite improvements, cybersecurity skills remain in huge demand across the UK economy. Last year’s cybersecurity skills in the UK labour market report found that 51% of businesses have a basic cyber skills gap, with an average of 21,600 new recruits needed every year to meet demand in the cybersecurity sector.

“Cybersecurity is an exciting and rapidly growing industry with opportunities in a wide range of areas. To meet this, we must build a sustainable – and crucially diverse – pipeline of talent,” said Chris Ensor, deputy director for cyber growth at the UK National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC). Collaboration across the industry will be key to filling the skills gap, including through initiatives like CyberFirst, he added. “We want to empower tomorrow’s cyber experts with the tools they need to keep the UK secure and resilient online.”

Notable entry-level cybersecurity career and skills initiatives in 2023

It is widely agreed that businesses and the cybersecurity sector generally need to get better at attracting, supporting, and hiring new entry-level talent. There have been notably positive efforts made in this area this year, with several initiatives, programs, and resources launched to help facilitate entry-level cybersecurity skills development and career opportunities. The likes of Google, ISACA, (ISC)2, Immersive Labs, and the EU Commission have all contributed, indicating a growing focus on cultivating more entry-level cybersecurity talent.

“Entry-level cyber professionals come with little preconception about what security should look and feel like. They also bring fresh perspectives and are more likely to question long-held ‘truths’ that those who’ve been in the field for decades probably haven’t challenged in quite some time,” Dave Stapleton, CISO at CyberGRX, told CSO earlier this month. What’s more, recruiting entry-level talent is also a way to increase the diversity of cybersecurity teams, a challenge the industry has done far too little to address over the years, Stapleton said.

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