Meet the Atlanta Cyber Week Influencers: Dr. Traci Carte of Kennesaw State University on Attracting and Retaining Employees in the Cybersecurity Field

By Dr. Traci Carte, Coles College of Business, Kennesaw State University

There is a shortage of skilled cybersecurity professionals and it is going to get worse. Open positions can take anywhere from 3 to six months to fill (with many positions simply going unfilled). This means effective security management requires highly successful recruiting and best practices for retaining top talent.

Simple tips for improving recruiting: 1) be concise – reduce job postings to critical skills only. Don’t create laundry lists of needed skills if some subset will do; 2) be present – engage with industry groups and colleges/technical schools. Your efforts need to be fueled by what’s going on in the cybersecurity industry and your needs must be represented in the university pipeline programs; 3) be creative in sourcing (i.e., other degree programs like psychology or history may produce graduates who are capable cybersecurity professionals with some training). Most universities are happy to help you in your efforts to recruit new college graduates.  We will gladly partner with your organization to help build a pipeline of graduates and programs that produce great entry-level employees. Such partnerships work best when you consider both your current recruiting efforts and future needs. Invest for the long term.

How cybersecurity pros can manage turnover

In addition to recruiting strong cybersecurity professionals, organizations also want to manage voluntary turnover. The first step in managing this is to have something interesting to offer. Cybersecurity positions need to include work variety, career pathing, and a sense that cybersecurity is important to the organization. Millennials want meaningful work. Organizations not only need to develop cybersecurity opportunities that are meaningful, but they must effectively message the importance of the work. Finally, managerial practices must be encouraged that include connecting with cybersecurity professionals on a personal level. This is more than career pathing (which is important), and includes efforts to establish a strong culture and sense of connection.

Many university programs are interested in facilitating efforts to manage voluntary turnover. Continuing education is one clear step that university partnerships can support. Graduate certificates, Master’s degrees, digital credentialing, and MOOCs are all continuing education opportunities. But, continued engagement with programs focused on developing the next generation of cybersecurity professionals – activities like capture-the-flag events, women and minority focused events for cybersecurity, classroom visits, etc. – can add the feeling that the cybersecurity work itself is meaningful.

A number of area universities will be on hand during Atlanta Cyber Week in October to discuss these ideas and others.  Join us October 2-6, 2017 for a Atlanta Cyber Week. For more information on the events of Atlanta Cyber Week visit