National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) highlights important security issues to help governments, businesses and individuals improve their online hygiene. One critical area to consider is the growing shortage of qualified security professionals, which is projected to reach 6 million unfilled positions across the globe by 2019. There are plenty of opportunities for smart people to pursue cybersecurity careers, and they don’t even necessarily need to have experience to qualify and make a difference.

Where to Find Cybersecurity Talent

Understanding cybersecurity is much like understanding any kind of technology subject. While not everyone who can operate a computer is a good candidate for a career in cybersecurity, individuals with experience in some areas of computing may be qualified for an entry-level position with a fast path to advancement.

Everyone should participate in the task of identifying people who have the potential to protect our computing infrastructure and privacy. Below are five sources of talent for IT hiring managers to tap into when recruiting qualified candidates for cybersecurity careers.

1. Software Developers

Software developers may be the most obvious and best source of potential cyber talent because there are overlapping skills that can translate easily to security. Begin by evaluating software developers and data specialists. Their understanding of the internals of software and how it is structured gives them an edge.

2. Military Veterans

Military experience is another good starting point to find potential cybersecurity recruits because of the discipline and structure inherent in their training. Even though there are plenty of technical areas in the armed forces, most people in the military only deal with technology as it relates to their specialties. Look for veterans who have used advanced technology as part of their duties. That kind of experience can go a long way toward understanding cybersecurity issues.

3. Women

Women comprise only about 11 percent of the cybersecurity workforce and have attained higher levels of education in the field than men. As cyberthreats increase, a more diverse workforce with varied perspectives and experiences can help uncover more cyberattacks sooner. Look for job candidates in organizations that focus on women’s careers, such as Women in Technology International (WITI).

4. Nontechnical Employees

Employees in nontechnical areas of the enterprise can still be interested in the cyber solutions they use every day. It is easier to enable a current employee to move laterally or even vertically within the organization than to bring in a new hire. Promote cybersecurity on an enterprisewide level and encourage interested nontechnical employees to ask questions and apply for open positions.

5. Hackathon Contestants

Hackathons may seem like an obvious place to find people who are knowledgeable about cybersecurity, but many of the participants are amateurs honing their skills on the side while working other day jobs. In general, the people who participate in hacking challenges have both the interest and aptitude to understand the internals of computing and security systems.

Spread the Word

The most important activity for IT hiring managers to undertake in the search to fill open cybersecurity jobs is to get the word out. Let people who may not otherwise pursue cybersecurity careers know that these highly mobile and frequently high-paying jobs are available and must be filled to keep everyone safe from cyberthreats.

Listen to the podcast: Consider a Career in Cybersecurity

Consider a Career in Cybersecurity

More from CISO

CEO, CIO or CFO: Who Should Your CISO Report To?

As we move deeper into a digitally dependent future, the growing concern of data breaches and other cyber threats has led to the rise of the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO). This position is essential in almost every company that relies on digital information. They are responsible for developing and implementing strategies to harden the organization's defenses against cyberattacks. However, while many organizations don't question the value of a CISO, there should be more debate over who this important role…

Everyone Wants to Build a Cyber Range: Should You?

In the last few years, IBM X-Force has seen an unprecedented increase in requests to build cyber ranges. By cyber ranges, we mean facilities or online spaces that enable team training and exercises of cyberattack responses. Companies understand the need to drill their plans based on real-world conditions and using real tools, attacks and procedures. What’s driving this increased demand? The increase in remote and hybrid work models emerging from the COVID-19 pandemic has elevated the priority to collaborate and…

Why Quantum Computing Capabilities Are Creating Security Vulnerabilities Today

Quantum computing capabilities are already impacting your organization. While data encryption and operational disruption have long troubled Chief Information Security Officers (CISOs), the threat posed by emerging quantum computing capabilities is far more profound and immediate. Indeed, quantum computing poses an existential risk to the classical encryption protocols that enable virtually all digital transactions. Over the next several years, widespread data encryption mechanisms, such as public-key cryptography (PKC), could become vulnerable. Any classically encrypted communication could be wiretapped and is…

6 Roles That Can Easily Transition to a Cybersecurity Team

With the shortage of qualified tech professionals in the cybersecurity industry and increasing demand for trained experts, it can take time to find the right candidate with the necessary skill set. However, while searching for specific technical skill sets, many professionals in other industries may be an excellent fit for transitioning into a cybersecurity team. In fact, considering their unique, specialized skill sets, some roles are a better match than what is traditionally expected of a cybersecurity professional. This article…