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Key Message from Day 2 at RSA 2016: Worldwide Talent Shortage for Cyber Security


Yesterday was Day 2 of the RSA 2016 event. Our team on the ground attended keynotes and sessions, and summarized the big message of the day as being all about the talent shortage in security. Here are some facts and figures shared:

  • The US alone has 200K cyber security jobs currently open and unable to close, due to lack of qualified applicants to fill the positions.
  • By 2020, this shortage is projected at current expansion rates to reach 20M in the US.
  • This problem is by no means limited to the US, but is consistently the case worldwide. 

Certainly, the fact that there is shortage of skilled, experienced, and certified security talent in the market is not new information. But, it is rather concerning that nothing seems to be closing the gap.

What were some of the prescriptions offered?

During the keynote yesterday, a few ideas were offered to try to help in closing the skills gap, which include:

  • Get more young people involved in this field, and find ways to attract them such as through gaming
  • Make security more interesting and relatable, such as with SANS NetWars
  • Gain government awareness of the problem together with funding for training and skills development
  • Act now to close this gap - the longer the problem continues, the wider the gap is expected to become
  • Encourage active mentorships between today's generation of experienced, seasons security administrators and the next generation

A notable example of a ground-breaking program in this area, is the PathMaker initiative. This initiative is a joint venture put together by the State of Indiana and Purdue University. The point of the program, is to attract young people into security careers through mentorship. Notably, PathMaker is not about protecting any single company; instead, its focus is on the entire state of Indiana. 

You can find out more about PathMaker, at:

I'm pleased to say that HPE has supported this program, by providing internships at HPE Labs. 

Interested in how HPE can help close the skills gap?

Whether you are an IT Professional interested in furthering your career, or an IT team leader who needs to find more experienced security people for your team, HPE can help. Our Education Services prepare and support your teams through development of the skills and certifications required to ensure that you have the expertise required. 

Furthermore, preparing your team for security goes beyond skills training. Your team needs to be aligned in terms of their roles and responsibilities, as well as prepared in advance to know how to respond when security breaches occur. It's not a matter of if, it's when. Our Education Consulting teams can help you, by preparing your people and by supporting them through the entire security preparedness process. 

For more information, see our Security information page. Ask us about Management of Change and how it applies to your next Security project.

More Pictures from RSA 2016

RSA 2016 Floor 1.PNGRSA 2016 HPE.PNGRSA 2016 CSA.PNG

About the Author


25+ years in high tech in various roles that include Consulting, Channel Mgmt, Product Mgmt and Marketing. Technology areas include storage and data management, high availability, cloud and hosting, networking, and mobility/wearable technology for enterprise, SMB , and channel business. Industries include healthcare, financial services, ISVs, Service Providers and telecos.

Carlos Abanto

Great post Kelly, definitely eye-opening.

Coming from a software developer background, I see there are many barriers to make the switch into the security field. Although there are countless of free resources online, there isn't a set clear path (save for a masters degree program) that can be followed. Going back to school is a two year commitment that would still require taking a lower paying job to build the experience necessary to excel in the field. Additionally, most of the commonly accepted certifications desired for the job require work experience and/or employer sponsorship to even attempt the test.

Of course, the preceeding comes with a bit of bias. The need to increase the share of people coming into the workforce towards this field remains, however, a security career was not an option during my college years and for that of many other technologists. It would be advantageous for the security community to lure established professionals into the field.

Binny Joseph

Hi Carlos,

Thanks for reading our blog and for your thoughtful comments. It can be hard to fit in the training required for security, and there are many types of training available - and it can be confusing. 

In response to your comments, I asked our security education experts for their advice. We've posted a new blog article just to address your comments, and to try to help. Here's the link to the new article: 

Our instructor, Lauri Haris, suggests that you start by looking at the job descriptions for the positions for which you would like to be considered. See what types of certifications are required. She also has some suggestions for how to get started, and which certifications to consider, depending on your level of IT experience and also whether you want to go the technical or management route.

In IT, professionals are continually challenged to learn new skills, technologies, and tools. We hope that HPE can be part of that process for you.

Best regards on your journey,




Hi thanks for your comment and for your interest in our blog post. It's fixed :).

Best regards