Ryan Corey, Cybrary Co-Founder and CEO: Bridging the Gap Between Supply and Demand of Cyber Skills
Cybrary, the world’s largest online cybersecurity career development platform, recently announced its latest collection of free IT and cybersecurity training and certification courses. Several courses were hand-selected to offer upskilling and career development courses directed toward actual job opportunities in the IT and security industry for anyone affected by the ongoing economic impacts of COVID-19.
We sat down with Ryan Corey, Cybrary Co-Founder and CEO to discuss the current cybersecurity training landscape and solutions to the talent shortage that's been a top challenge for the industry to overcome -- especially in the wake of COVID-19.
Tell us about Cybrary and its mission. What are you now offering and why?
Cybrary’s mission is to serve as the premier cybersecurity professional development platform and provide the collective knowledge of the industry's top experts and leading organizations to better equip security professionals with the knowledge and skills to achieve their career goals, while simultaneously bridging the growing industry skills gap.
To further our efforts for this mission, fight the negative economic effects of COVID-19, and bridge the growing divide between the supply and demand of cybersecurity skills, Cybrary has been offering monthly free courses since July. The latest group of courses for November were chosen specifically to offer people a path to finding jobs in cybersecurity, and to respond to the rise in cyber attacks that have exploded during the epidemic and contentious political climate.
Everyone knows that the cyber industry is in a mass talent shortage. How does the type of training that Cybrary provides help combat that talent shortage?
Given the ongoing cybersecurity talent shortage that only continues to grow, our vast and growing catalog of high quality training courses, labs, certification prep, assessments, and more cover the most popular and in demand skills needed for a successful career. Ranging from general topics like network security, cloud, and pentesting, to specific certifications such as CISSP, Certified Ethical Hacker, Security+, Microsoft Azure, CCSK, and more from CompTIA, ISC2, ISACA, and others, our goal is to provide training for any and all cybersecurity professionals. Whether someone is just getting started searching for a new career path or has more than 20 years of experience in the industry, we have skills, certifications, and career development training content for them. We recently conducted an industry survey of more than 800 professionals and produced a research report which found that approximately 68% of cybersecurity professionals spend time outside of regular working hours to learn new skills, and another 22% of organizations are cutting training budgets. This is where Cybrary steps in to bridge the skill and talent gaps to ensure employees and organizations can improve their security effectiveness.
In the face of COVID, some employees have been forced to look at making drastic career changes or are just genuinely interested in pursuing a career in cyber. What would your advice be to those looking to jumpstart their career in cyber?
For professionals, graduates, or anyone who’s curious about cybersecurity, my advice is to dive into our beginner career path called “Information Security Fundamentals“ which is a collection of the popular “Intro to IT and Cybersecurity” courses and several short labs to get some hands-on learning right away. From there you’ll get some ideas of topics you’re interested in, and can move on to explore those topics and others to pursue what lights a fire in you. Honestly though, the best recommendation I can give is to join the Insider Pro community, where you can talk to live mentors, industry experts, and other learners to get experience answers and feedback to help guide you where you want to go in the field. Cybersecurity is an expansive field, and being able to talk to actual professionals working in the industry can be invaluable, saving you tons of time to find the path that’s right for you.
What do you think cyber leaders should know about hiring in a COVID environment?
Hiring in this new era of remote teams can be very challenging, especially for those within cybersecurity. So when assessing the skills of prospective new hires, know that specific skills and tools can be learned, and the true goal is find a candidate who is not only self-motivated and a team player, but fits within the company and team culture. Hiring managers tell us all the time their best hires often come from outside of IT and security, because they know they can train them for the skills, it's finding candidates with the right attitude and aptitude that’s key.
How do you see cyber hiring evolving in 2021?
Cybersecurity employee retention has always been a problem the industry has grappled with. On average, cybersecurity professionals stay at their respective organizations for about 18 months before leaving for a new opportunity. One compelling aspect of departure is the opportunity for skill development at another company. Organizations are often willing to pay more for new employees if they’ve upskilled elsewhere in order to save themselves time and money.
To address this issue, SOC and hiring managers will begin to think more about how they strategically implement career development opportunities for their current employees. The current era of remote work is ripe to create a less engaged workforce that will exacerbate these retention issues. However, by upskilling employees internally and investing in their personal career development, they see a clear path to upward mobility, and a better work-life balance is created so employees can become more committed to their current organization, and not feeling forced to look elsewhere to grow their careers.