By Jan Orr
Successful cybersecurity professionals need more than just technical skills.
Does the word “cybersecurity” conjure up a picture of someone with extraordinary technical skills and unlimited knowledge of computer networks, protocols and operating systems? While technical computer skills are a “must have” to work in cybersecurity, there are five other characteristics that technical cybersecurity managers look for beyond technical competence. Here’s what the top names in the industry are seeking in job candidates:
“To work in cybersecurity, curiosity is an absolutely essential trait. Anyone who gets comfortable in fighting off threats in the same fashion, will quickly be outdated, and subject to breaches. To be successful you have to be curious, and seek out new weaknesses before they become weaknesses.” – Renee Walrath, Founder of Walrath Recruiting
“The most important quality I look for when hiring new talent is persistence. Are they determined? Do they have the gumption to do the job right? In the cyber security world, the problems people face are not only ever-changing, but also very difficult to start with, so persistence is key.” – Reg Harnish, CEO of GreyCastle Security
An appetite to learn
“The cybersecurity landscape is evolving continuously and rapidly, and therefore the most important quality I look for in a security hire is someone who can do the same – someone with natural curiosity that will lead to continual learning. The security workforce needs people who will be a part of inventing the solutions that will keep us safe not only today but in the future. – Shamla Naidoo, Chief Information Security Officer, IBM
“The ability to communicate issues in non-technical terms that business people can understand is a key attribute in attaining leadership positions in this field. Finding a candidate that has a balance of strong technical skills, business acumen and communication aptitude is extremely rare, but those candidates will go very far.” – Scott Laliberte, managing director, Protiviti
“Working in cybersecurity is different from other sectors of IT. There is a tremendous amount of collaboration across various disciplines, which requires qualities that might not be as significant in other IT roles. This includes attributes such as creativity, confidence, focus, reliability and humility. Interestingly, we’ve found that those with musical talent have an innate ability to synchronize these skills and emerge as a solid security expert.” – Chris Drake, CEO Armo
Jan K. Orr is a Marketing Coordinator for Extended Education Ventures. She studied computer science at The University of Texas at Austin and holds an MBA from Oklahoma State University.
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