SANS cyber-fair puts cyber-experts on the market

The SANS Cyber Academy will hold a recruitment fair in the autumn to showcase 40 top cyber-security graduates.

The SANS Cyber Academy will hold a recruitment fair in the autumn
The SANS Cyber Academy will hold a recruitment fair in the autumn

Companies looking for instant cyber-security talent need look no further than the SANS Institute Cyber Academy Recruitment Fair to be  held in October.

It's will showcase leading graduates from the eight-week programme launched in April. The students were selected by SANS, a leading information security training provider, from a pool of 24,000 applicants who took a skills and aptitude assessment created by SANS' trainers which was open to anyone who wished to apply. From this pool, 200 candidates were invited to apply for 40 places at the academy.

Organisations attending the fair, the first-ever event of its type organised by SANS, will have the opportunity to meet and interview these 40 students. According to SANS, the graduates – who have completed three internationally renowned SANS courses and three GIAC certifications – are ready to start in cyber-security roles and be effective from day one.

The fair will take place in October, mid-way through the candidates' training. Employers from the private sector and government are being invited to register their interest now. They will be provided with anonymised CVs and profiles in advance to help them prepare for the interview day.

Companies making an offer to a candidate are expected to cover the costs incurred by SANS in recruiting and training them. While SANS didn't give us a figure, SCMagazineUK.com was told that it would be comparable to the cost of training a new starter in-house, a process that usually takes around two years.

A series of interviews was used to assess candidates' skills and enthusiasm for working in areas of cyber-security with significant shortages of trained workers.

Steve Jones, UK managing director of SANS, said the candidates would be attractive to companies frustrated by the time it takes to get new staff up to speed in cyber-security. “We are constantly hearing from employers that they need work-ready employees right now. So that's what we are doing with this initiative – finding and training the best talent to start making an impact immediately. This year we'll be delivering 40 professionals straight into cyber-careers, and we intend to grow that over coming years,” he said.

Jones added: “We've flipped the recruitment model on its head, acting as a filter for employers, identifying the very best candidates in the country, and training them to a level where they are ready to deliver value from the moment they walk through the door.”

Tony Dyhouse, director of the Trustworthy Software Initiative, told SC that the shortage of skilled professionals to defend against the growing cyber-threat meant he welcomed this initiative. “Initiatives like the Cyber-Security Challenge and new curricula will make a big difference in the long run to the cyber-security talent pool, but employers also need cyber-skills now. It's great to see independent organisations like SANS recognising this and developing initiatives that create employment-ready cyber-talent who can plug the skills gap now, not in several years' time,” Dyhouse said.

Organisations can express interest in attending the recruitment fair by emailing cyberacademy@sans.org.