It’s one thing to talk about a problem. It’s another thing to do something. There are many reasons why many industries are feeling the impact of the cybersecurity talent shortage. But it takes effort – and resources – to fill the void. Cybersecurity jobs often compensate well, with national averages showing salaries in the six-figure range for cybersecurity vacancies. According to a Microsoft report, one in 20 open jobs in the United States is in cybersecurity, with an average annual salary of $105,800. But despite the higher salaries in cybersecurity, the talent gap still exists. And part of the problem is that it’s been difficult to create affordable ways to build cybersecurity skills in the workforce.
Last fall, Microsoft took an active role in training and recruiting thousands more for the cybersecurity workforce. Their goal is to use their status as a top technology company and bring an additional 250,000 people into the cybersecurity workforce by 2025. While Microsoft plans to hire some of these new employees , most will find positions with other employers. While Microsoft has pledged to fund security solutions and US government agencies, they are also tackling this issue at the education level.
Microsoft invests in community colleges
Microsoft is making major investments in US community colleges – an often overlooked asset. Community college students are generally diverse and approachable. They are also present throughout the country and cater to the needs of students of all ages. So Microsoft’s four-year campaign commits to a few things.
1. Make the program freely available to all public community colleges nationwide.
Microsoft provides every U.S. community college with free access to curriculum, educator training, and educational tools. The resources will align with the certification course materials for Microsoft.
2. Provide training for new and existing faculty at 150 community colleges.
But just because you follow the program doesn’t mean you always have the staff to teach. So, Microsoft is working with colleges to train and retain their cybersecurity professors. And community colleges that are accelerating their cybersecurity programs will also receive grants and technical assistance.
3. Provide scholarships and additional resources to 25,000 students.
One of the main benefits of teaching cybersecurity at community colleges is that it provides affordable education options to a diverse talent pool. Diversity is truly a force multiplier for understanding the people behind cyber issues. And Microsoft is offering scholarship programs to at least 25,000 students for the next four years. The funding is intended to supplement existing federal and state financial programs, and it can be used to cover various financial barriers to education, such as child care.
With empty cybersecurity positions, it is important to find unique ways to solve the problem.