RSA Conference AdvancedU: Working Together to Close the Security Education Gap

Posted on by Linda Gray Martin

At the close of 2015, the U.S. bureau of labor statistics showcased an incredible increase in demand for new security talent that would be needed over the next 10 years. According to the bureau then, “Employment of information security analysts is projected to grow 18 percent from 2014 to 2024, much faster than the average for all occupations. Demand for information security analysts is expected to be very high, as these analysts will be needed to create innovative solutions to prevent hackers from stealing critical information or causing problems for computer networks.”  A few weeks later, Forbes highlighted the potential need for 1 million cybersecurity jobs to be filled in 2016.

So, did we wave our magical security wand and create new professionals out of thin air? Unfortunately, we did not. As covered last week by Redmond Magazine. “A survey conducted by Intel Security's McAfee Center for Strategic and International Studies released last summer pointed to a global shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals. The report gave a grim assessment of the current availability of those with security expertise across all disciplines. ‘The cybersecurity workforce shortfall remains a critical vulnerability for companies and nations,’ the report's introduction warned. ‘Conventional education and policies can't meet demand. New solutions are needed to build the cybersecurity workforce necessary in a networked world.’ 

The survey of 775 IT decision makers in eight countries (including the U.S.) found that 82 percent are coping with a shortage of cybersecurity skills in their IT department, 71 percent report that the lack of talent is causing direct and measurable damage and 76 percent believe their respective governments aren't investing adequately in educating or training cybersecurity talent.”

Now it’s a year later, and we still have a huge gap in both jobs to fill and the ability to educate those who want to fill the positions. The problem may not be new, but there is a new opportunity for us as an industry to close this gap. Today, we unveiled RSA Conference AdvancedU, a new series of programs to educate and encourage more people to pursue a career in cybersecurity, and also reinvigorate veterans with decades of experience. Here is a brief overview of some of the activities you’ll see at RSA Conference 2017.

RSAC Security Scholar: In its second year, RSAC Security Scholar has grown to 60 students from more than twenty leading universities around the U.S.. Participating scholars engage with industry luminaries to share knowledge, gain experience, and forge connections. 

RSAC College Day: All current university students are invited to attend RSA Conference for free on RSAC College Day, hosted on Thursday, February 16. College Day students will have access to the more than 500 exhibitors and startups, as well as 50+ sessions featuring experts in legal, technical advancement, policy, and hackers and threat research.

RSAC CyberSafety Initiative: This program will include three components:

  • RSAC CyberSafety Village Exhibit: The RSAC CyberSafety Village (CSV) showcases service agencies and non-profit organizations that provide education and guidance to parents seeking to learn how to teach their children to be safe and responsible online. 
  • CyberSmart: Parents Education Workshop: This seminar provides an overview to parents and caretakers on how to best support and secure their child’s online activities. Attendees will hear about the latest research on sleep and addiction, how to recognize and address cyberbullying, and find out what youth and teens are saying about the rewards and challenges they experience in a connected world.  
  • CyberSafety Presentation Stage: Located in the CyberSafety Village, the Presentation Stage will host the Workshop as well as a daily schedule of industry influencers with expertise in cybersecurity and parent education.

LoyaltyPlus: Formerly known as Members Circle, our loyalty program is more than just a name. LoyaltyPlus is a unique group of veterans hungry to continue their information security education and are invaluable resources for those just beginning their information security journey.

Association Credits:  Association Credits partners with leading information security education and training associations, like SANS, (ISC)2 and ISACA to give attendees the opportunity to receive Continuing Professional Education credits to maintain critical certifications.

We hope you are as excited by the AdvancedU initiative as we are, and hope to see you exploring these activities while onsite in San Francisco. We have an opportunity to showcase change and I believe this community is passionate enough to make a true dent in both the education and job gaps the security market is facing. 

Linda Gray Martin

Senior Vice President, RSA Conference

professional development & workforce

Blogs posted to the website are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and opinions expressed are those of the blog author individually and, unless expressly stated to the contrary, are not the opinion or position of RSA Conference™, or any other co-sponsors. RSA Conference does not endorse or approve, and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented in this blog.

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