Opportunities for diverse talents in South Africa

Issue 5 2022 Cyber Security, Training & Education

More than half of cybersecurity professionals agree that people don’t need a university degree to have a successful career in cybersecurity, despite 85% of those professionals holding degrees related to computer science.

Forty-five percent of those surveyed reported working in careers and professions other than cybersecurity in the past, although more than half had roles in more general information technology environments.


Carlo Bolzonello.

That’s according to research into the cybersecurity industry talent shortage conducted on behalf of Trellix. “The cybersecurity world changes so quickly that it’s difficult to study the theory in a university and then apply that knowledge in the working world,” says Carlo Bolzonello, country lead for Trellix in South Africa. “Success in cybersecurity needs an inquisitive and analytical personality, along with the ability to remain composed and calm under pressure.”

This makes a career in cybersecurity a potential opportunity for those among South Africa’s high unemployment statistics who may otherwise not have considered the field because they believed it requires formal education that they may not be able to afford.

“As someone who started my career in cybersecurity by working in a computer retailer and who does not have a university degree but has a number of industry-specific qualifications, I encourage South Africans to consider a career in cybersecurity,” Bolzonello says. “South Africans are world-renowned for their strong work ethic and their willingness to take on any task, even if it falls beyond their job description. We’re also naturally curious and determined to find a workaround to just about any situation – all attributes that make a strong cybersecurity professional.”

Purposeful and motivating

Respondents to the survey describe a career in cybersecurity as ‘purposeful and motivating’, with more than half choosing the sector because it is progressive and constantly evolving, and they enjoy exploring challenging new trends. Four in ten emphasised the relevance of cybersecurity as business, industry and government become increasingly digitally platformed, with one in five saying they had chosen the field because they value doing something that helps society for the greater good.

Despite these motivations, a little more than one third of the professionals surveyed felt that there’s a lack of recognition among society for the importance of the work they do.

More than 90% of cybersecurity professionals emphasise that there is a skills gap in their profession, despite a growing demand to fill security-related roles, while more than one third note that there is limited support when it comes to the qualifications and certifications required to enter the industry.

“It’s inspiring to see that 92% of cybersecurity professionals believe that greater mentorship, internships and apprenticeships would encourage more diversity in cybersecurity roles,” Bolzonello continues. “They also believe that the three most important steps towards encouraging new candidates in the industry are raising awareness of cybersecurity careers, encouraging students to pursue STEM-related careers throughout their education journey, and more funding to support learning. It’s clear that there’s no single quick-fix to the cybersecurity skills challenge, but there are multiple ways to address the various challenges.”

Encourage participation and education

Those surveyed recognised that their own organisations could be doing more to encourage more people into the industry, including broader recruitment drives, community mentoring in schools, and being more open to considering job applicants from non-traditional cybersecurity backgrounds. Bolzonello, as a self-taught cybersecurity specialist, adds that many local companies are cautious to invest in cybersecurity skills development because, with demand for expertise being so high, they fear that newly skilled workers will leave for greener (better paid) pastures as soon as they’re qualified.

“Companies need to constantly review salaries against market rates to retain skills, but they also need to remember that the fast-changing nature of this sector means that some of the best experts in the game are self-taught, without any formal certifications. Insisting on remunerating people based on their qualifications is counter-intuitive in this field – people should be remunerated based on their skills and experience too.”


Credit(s)




Share this article:
Share via emailShare via LinkedInPrint this page



Further reading:

Cyber resilience is more than cybersecurity
Technews Publishing Cyber Security Integrated Solutions IT infrastructure
Hi-Tech Security Solutions held a round-table discussion focusing on cyber resilience and found that while the resilience discipline includes cybersecurity, it also goes much further.

Read more...
Defining the resilience of cybersecurity
Cyber Security Security Services & Risk Management
Cyber resilience is less buzzword and more critical business strategy as the cybercrime landscape grows in intent and intensity.

Read more...
From the editor's desk: Security and resilience
Technews Publishing News
It’s often said that South Africans are a resilient bunch, and history has proven this correct. When it comes to security, both cyber and physical, resilience is key to an effective defensive plan. ...

Read more...
Hikvision aims for solutions
Technews Publishing Hikvision South Africa Editor's Choice CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring News Integrated Solutions Conferences & Events
Hikvision recently held a roadshow titled Industry X, where the company highlighted its latest products and solutions, supported by partners and distributors.

Read more...
ADI Expo returns to South Africa
Technews Publishing ADI Global Distribution News
September saw the return of the ADI Expo to South Africa. The Johannesburg event was held at the Focus Rooms and the Durban event, two days later, at the Southern Sun Elangeni & Maharani.

Read more...
Technoswitch Awards dinner for 2022
Technews Publishing News Fire & Safety
Technoswitch hosted its fifth awards dinner at Montecasino in September, where customers and suppliers celebrated a year of success.

Read more...
Reliable, low-maintenance video appliances
Technews Publishing Editor's Choice CCTV, Surveillance & Remote Monitoring News IT infrastructure Products
Symetrix, part of the Agera Group, has added the AES range of video recording servers, storage appliances and workstations to its portfolio.

Read more...
How to stay cybersafe on business trips
Cyber Security
No matter where you are in the world, tech-savvy criminals are looking for ways to exploit email addresses, social media profiles, passwords, financial data and stored files.

Read more...
Resilience is a collaborative effort
Technews Publishing Editor's Choice
Cyber resilience is not an ‘IT thing’; Wayne Olsen says it is an enterprise-wide risk strategy that involves collaboration, lots of collaboration.

Read more...
The challenge of data safety and availability
Technews Publishing Editor's Choice Cyber Security
Veeam offers backup and recovery software that presents the user with one interface to manage backups to and from almost any platform.

Read more...