Arabic Arabic Chinese (Simplified) Chinese (Simplified) Dutch Dutch English English French French German German Italian Italian Portuguese Portuguese Russian Russian Spanish Spanish
| (844) 627-8267

Bridging the Cybersecurity Talent Gap (Chris Wright Commentary) | #hacking | #cybersecurity | #infosec | #comptia | #pentest | #ransomware | #hacking | #aihp

Cybercrimes are on the rise, and so is Arkansas businesses’ need for skilled talent to help identify, protect, detect, respond to and recover from potential breaches and attacks.

In the next decade, the Bureau of Labor Statistics projects cybersecurity jobs will increase more than 30%, a rate far higher than the average of occupations overall. According to Cyberseek, Arkansas has more than 7,700 cybersecurity professionals. Yet there are still 5,000 openings.

Industry experts, myself included, suspect these numbers are inflated. But it’s clear from our work that Arkansas needs more cybersecurity professionals. We expect demand for these employees will grow as companies are forced to take a less compliance-focused and more risk management-based approach to meet today’s threat landscape.

What’s the most effective way to bridge the cybersecurity talent gap?

This issue has been a hot topic for years, with cross-sector collaborations launched to target Arkansas’ shortage. State government, private industry and nonprofits recognize that investing in this industry is an economic necessity — and a potential boon.

Data shows the cybersecurity field offers residents significantly higher-than-average paychecks and better job security. At the same time, businesses that employ these professionals benefit from protection against potentially devastating financial, reputational and operational losses.

To date, efforts to build Arkansas’ cybersecurity talent pipeline have focused primarily on traditional workforce development. While filling positions is crucial, reaching a certain threshold of cybersecurity workers alone won’t meet businesses’ long-term security needs.

The daily duties of cybersecurity professionals are nuanced and vary widely by sector. Instead of simply pushing degrees, training or credentials, we should focus on nurturing budding and existing talent, including those in adjacent fields. Within the industry, we’re already seeing a concerted effort to encourage individuals through community-building, mentorship and friendly competition to turn their interests into long-term careers.

Take Central Arkansas Hackers, a monthly meetup with more than 600 members, as an example. This group allows individuals of all skill levels to share cybersecurity interests and advice on emerging threats. Equally important, more senior CAH members mentor junior professionals to transition into more challenging roles or pursue cybersecurity career pathways.

We’ve also seen massive growth in our Arkansas Hackers Discord server. Alongside discussing best practices and swapping advice, members can funnel their skills, interests and motivation into viable careers. For example, suppose a participant wants to become a penetration tester. Longtime experts understand these positions may not exist in significant numbers in Arkansas, but security operations center analysts do.

So they may offer guidance to nudge the individual in that direction.

Cybersecurity training programs and degrees are beneficial. However, those experiences or certifications don’t necessarily mean the individual is ready to hit the ground running or pursue this career path long-term. With a blended approach, including traditional workforce development and field-guided efforts, our state can better nurture and grow our cybersecurity talent pool.

Chris Wright is co-founder and partner at Sullivan Wright Technologies, an Arkansas-based firm that provides tailored cybersecurity, IT and security compliance services. Email him at or visit

Click Here For The Original Source.