Filling the Cybersecurity Skills Gap: Community Members are Helping Develop the Next Generation of Cyber Professionals
By Jason Scott,
The Deepwatch and The Undercroft Partnership
There is a strong connection between Deepwatch and The Undercroft. The Tampa area has a tight-knit yet expansive tech and cyber community. There are many colleagues and friends that cross-pollinate between cloud, operating systems, hacking, and cybersecurity. There are many local meetup groups such as CigarCitySec, Hack The Box, Cloud Security Alliance, and various other cybersecurity get-togethers. Our community members have become friends and continue to network and otherwise stay in touch even during Covid-19.
Through these unprecedented times, Deepwatch has been presented with the opportunity to further support the local community and continue to help grow the broader infosec community. The Undercroft launched its workforce development program titled UC Baseline. The program is designed for career-changers, folks with entry level experience, displaced workers, and those looking to take control of their own digital privacy and cybersecurity.
Deepwatch was proud to support these individuals by sponsoring an aspiring cyber professional’s participation in this program. The learning journey included security hardware, networking tools, Linux, Windows, Infosec, and Python; essentially all the foundational elements to start a career in cybersecurity.
The Future of the InfoSec Community is Us
The UC is a “MEMBER DRIVEN CYBERSECURITY GUILD AND DEVELOPMENT CENTER” that functions as a guild. Apprentices can get support, mentorship, and encouragement from Journeyfolk and Master-level members who have years of experience in various disciplines.
Members are encouraged to self-study, attain certifications, build a portfolio of experience and learn specific skills that will make one a valuable asset to any organization but also addressing skill gaps that are recognized throughout the Industry.
UC and its partnerships provide an avenue for current professionals to give back and build the next generation of cybersecurity talent.
How The Undercroft got Started
The UC is many years in the making. It started with an idea to bring cyber and tech professionals together in order to help put the Tampa area on the map as a location that fosters great technology talent. There have been many folks contributing to this effort. Tampa has a huge tech community, so there have been many resources (read people) in the community.
I had the pleasure of working with Adam (Founder of the UC) during an early session of the UC when it was just a concept. I had the pleasure of watching many of the foundational pieces be put in place during that time.
The concept… to support the local cyber/tech community and provide a mechanism to support new talent, hobbyists, and mentors… helps build a fountain of cyber talent for companies and government entities to help protect our businesses and our national infrastructure.
How to Take Action
Many wonder “What can I do?” The short answer is “get out there” (virtually or otherwise….seek to get involved). You can mentor colleagues and friends informally. You can volunteer with a local OWASP chapter to start something yourself. You can find an entity such as The Undercroft and donate your time to help someone learn Linux or Networking. There are many meetups and conferences that have gone virtual, so there really isn’t much of an excuse to not help the cybersecurity community grow. “We” are the answer to the skills gap… let’s work together to close it!