How Internships Elevate Your Entry-Level Hiring In Cyber Security As organizations strive to protect their digital assets, the demand for skilled cyber security professionals has reached unprecedented levels. To attract top talent, many companies provide internships or on-the-job training for entry-level professionals. In this article, we’ll explore the cyber security talent gap and internships' role in elevating your entry-level hiring.

Cyber Security Risk Gap In The Online World

Cyber security threats are estimated to inflict damages worth $10.5 trillion annually by 2025. As a result, IBM found that 51% of organizations plan to invest more in cyber security, employee training, and threat detection tools.

Despite significant investments, there's an exponential growth in online threats and a low level of preparedness among organizations. Many businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), have limited budgets and IT staff dedicated to protecting their data.

In the US, there are 700,000 job vacancies in cyber security. The lack of talent at a global level means that many businesses lack the expertise and resources to respond to online threats.

The Growing Demand For Cyber Security Talent In Canada

Deloitte's Cyber Talent Campaign Report examined Canada's challenges in hiring cyber security professionals. Based on in-depth interviews with 40 cyber security leaders and more than 110 Canadian executives, the study found these top recruitment challenges:

  • Finding the right mix of technical and analytical soft skills
  • Increasing demand for cyber talent amid lack of supply
  • Outdated curriculums in colleges and universities
  • Academic programs fail to foster job-ready skills

Issue #1: Recruiting candidates with technical and analytical skills

Recruiters find it difficult to find candidates with technical prowess and the ability to adapt, communicate, and collaborate effectively. Even when they can hire qualified employees, the high demand and their level of compensation can make it challenging to retain them.

Most cyber security professionals also don’t have a defined career path. The Enterprise Security Group found that 66 percent of cyber security professionals still need to learn how to propel their careers to the next level. For cyber security teams that need different types of experts, this makes it difficult to maintain a robust team that can respond to emerging threats.

Issue #2: Increasing demand amid lack of diversity

The current demand for cyber security professionals far outpaces the available supply—but there is an opportunity to attract interns from diverse backgrounds.

Deloitte found the average Canadian cyber security team is only 29 percent female. A study by the International Information Systems Security Certification Consortium (ISC2) claims that 70% of cyber security professionals have an IT background.

These numbers reveal an opportunity for recruiters to find talent in unexpected places. Network at LGBTQ+ and women’s organizations. Make an active effort to reach out to candidates in minority communities. Having a diverse team will provide you with unique perspectives and approaches to security challenges, which could be overlooked in a homogenous group.

Issue #3: Need for continuous education

IT professionals that have followed a traditional educational or professional path may need to upskill to keep up with the dizzying pace of technological change. They may need to learn new coding languages or techniques to detect and eliminate cyber threats. Lack of in-demand skill sets can make them less competitive as the job market evolves. In addition, they may need to hone their skills for collaboration, teamwork and leadership.

Addressing the Cyber Security Talent Gap Through Internships

Addressing the talent gap in cyber security is a critical priority for businesses, governments, and educational institutions. Here’s how internships can help bridge this gap:

Search for candidates through diverse networks

Diversity in cyber security hiring is not just a matter of social responsibility—it's a strategic advantage. Having employees from non-traditional backgrounds allows teams to approach a problem from a wide range of perspectives and multiple angles.

A good tip is to expand your search for entry-level interns by networking with qualified professionals in veterans programs, minority professional groups, or women and LGBTQ organizations. Actively recruit from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), minority-focused job boards, diversity-focused events, and career fairs.

Offer internship opportunities to minorities

Do not limit your recruitment to tech workers. People from non-traditional backgrounds can also excel in cyber security roles with the right resources and opportunities.

Encourage underrepresented groups, such as women and minorities, to enter the field through scholarships, mentorship programs, and internship opportunities. Doing so, you’ll be able to create a workforce equipped to resolve cyber threats and create a diverse environment in your organization.

Recruit at cyber security bootcamps

The tech industry is an evolving field that constantly requires upskilling. That's why many professionals enroll in intensive certification courses or short-term training programs.

Other than universities, companies can recruit entry-level professionals taking bootcamps or short-term courses on cyber security. Students enrolled in these programs are often self-motivated to learn or make a shift in their current career path.

For example, Lighthouse Labs' Cyber Security Bootcamp lets students learn through projects, assignments, and course collaborations. Lighthouse Labs also matches graduates with businesses offering paid internships as part of their career support services.

Cross training opportunities

While cyber security professionals are focused on upskilling, some mid- and late-professionals are looking to explore new opportunities and challenges. If you have employees with the same mindset, offer them opportunities to cross-train with cyber talent.

Provide mentorships, intensive coaching, stretch assignments, and other learning opportunities that will help them make the transition. Also, give them time to focus on tech-related passion projects to foster their passion and creativity. Done right, you'll be able to get more cyber security experts and improve retention at the same time.

Embrace career shifters

The demand for mid to senior-level cyber security advisors and strategists is increasing, but the time it takes to nurture juniors is too long. In this scenario, providing internships to career shifters can help fill your talent gap.

Career shifters often have mature soft skills such as problem-solving, project management, communication, and critical thinking. These skills are essential to teams, especially in roles that involve interacting with non-technical stakeholders.

Bottom Line

The significance of internships in attracting top talent cannot be overstated. While the talent shortage is inevitable, there are a lot of ways you can attract the right people.

Make hiring more diverse by seeking qualified interns in minority organizations, universities, and industry associations. Create opportunities for employees interested in making a career shift through mentorship, conferences, and short-term training programs.

Remember: Anyone with the right dedication and mindset can be a cyber security expert. By recruiting interns from diverse backgrounds, you can recruit the right talent and create a secure digital future for your organization.

Wage Subsidies

Streamline your recruitment and unlock new growth opportunities by partnering with Lighthouse Labs. With our Wage Subsidy Program, you can get access to funding that can partially or even fully cover wages and other employment-related costs of new hires that add value from day one. Ready to hire and want to take advantage of this program? Connect with us today!