Highlighting Training Needs in Cybersecurity
Valley Vision serves a unique role as the workforce intermediary in the Capital Region’s training and development ecosystem. In this role, we work closely with the community colleges, workforce boards, community-based organizations, employers, industry partners, and local jurisdictions to improve our region’s responsiveness to the needs of both industry and the community. To that end, Valley Vision produces employer and industry advisories in occupational areas of growth and interest to inform education and training partners to address and respond to these needs to support our overall economy.
On March 31st, Valley Vision hosted an advisory on the growing demand for Cybersecurity occupations. The advisory included a keynote presentation by Nathaniel Le of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and labor market information including job posting and skills analysis by Ebony Benzing, Research Manager of the Center of Excellence, as well as an industry panel discussion with the following representatives:
- Tania Webb, Managing Director of Deloitte
- Benjamin Troglia, Associate Director of Accenture
- Andrew Maroun, Director of Information Security of Golden 1 Credit Union
- David Bitter, Cybersecurity Manager of SMUD
During the advisory, panelists described a need for both generalists and specialists to meet their staffing needs. While specific technical skills are needed, the highest demand traits these employers revealed were a passion for the work and interpersonal skills, including written and verbal communication, to work well within teams and with external customers. Webb indicated understanding the “why” of the services employees are providing is essential and pre-eminent to thinking through how the technology solution helps meet that need, while Bitter indicated applicants who demonstrate an interest in the field beyond classwork, through clubs or competitions, are highly valued. Additionally, he noted the challenge for educators to keep up with the training needs of the industry due to technology evolving exponentially. He indicated and other panelists agreed, that there is more tendency to recruit generalists who can learn specialties on the job. “I don’t think it’s realistic to expect these students coming out of educational institutions to have that (specific) knowledge,” Bitter said.
Panelists were asked about specific technical skills, degrees, and certifications to obtain entry-level employment in the field. While panelists indicated recruiting individuals with a Bachelor’s Degree (or higher) was common, most stated they are open to candidates who can demonstrate the experience, skills, and knowledge without a degree. Certifications were indicated as one way to differentiate while seeking employment, although practical real-world experience had as high or higher of a value. Specific certifications in demand include SAMs, CISP, and CompTIA Security+, which can elevate one candidate over another and demonstrate the candidate’s initiative to continue learning in their field. Specific technical skills in demand included Linux, Python, and Network Security.
When asked what advice would the panelists give to individuals trying to break into the Cyber Security field, networking, getting as much practical experience as possible, and staying up on the latest news in the security field were indicated as key. Maroun noted a particular challenge is the lack of diverse candidates entering the field which among other challenges limits the group’s creativity diverse backgrounds bring in developing solutions.
Join us for two additional upcoming advisories on the changing needs of Hospitality, Culinary, and Tourism on April 22nd and the expanding needs for Forestry Management Occupations on April 28th. Valley Vision’s full resource industry of advisories is available here.
Valley Vision’s employer and industry advisories are funded by Los Rios Community College District with Strong Workforce Program funds. Additionally, the Capital Region’s four workforce boards co-sponsor the advisories; SETA/Sacramento Works, Golden Sierra JTA, YoloWorks, and North Central Counties Consortium.
To keep up with Valley Vision’s work to advance a future-ready workforce in the Sacramento region, subscribe to our 21st Century Workforce email newsletter!
Nghia Nguyen is a Valley Vision Project Associate supporting initiatives within the 21st Century Workforce impact area.
Renee John is a Valley Vision Project Leader managing initiatives within the 21st Century Workforce impact area.