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Survey: Experience Preferred Over Education When Hiring for Cybersecurity

By Edward Gately
March 16, 2017 - News
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IT security professionals place more importance on experience than qualifications when it comes to hiring, according to a new survey by FireMon.

The survey of 350 IT security professionals gauged their attitudes toward the skills shortage in cybersecurity. Some 93 percent agreed that experience is more important than qualifications. A further 73 percent claimed that it didn't matter whether IT staff were college graduates when it came to getting the job done.

“Combatting the skills gap does not lie solely with more people getting degrees and certifications," said Jeremy Martin, FireMon’s vice president of engineering. “Experience has been shown to be much more important, which … is good news for security-minded folks who learn by experimenting with code and tearing apart systems. That is not to diminish those with qualifications, but instead to encourage those with real-world experience to apply for the IT security jobs they think they might not otherwise get."

The survey also is good news for those IT professionals who have good communication skills, but perhaps not the best technical skills, as respondents were split down the middle as to which was more important. Another 90 percent of IT security professionals agreed that in order to keep up with the rapidly changing threat landscape, they would have to become more business-savvy.

A final key finding was that a third of respondents said they could use more intelligent IT security products. With more intuitive technology, staffing resources could be freed up from mundane tasks to focus their knowledge where it really counts.

“With all of the complexity surrounding IT security infrastructure, from the various security technologies, routers, switches, firewalls and so forth, finding ways to make management tools and workflows more intelligent can shoulder some of the burden and fill in interim staffing gaps," Martin said.

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