MailGuard plans to offer internships to students at Deakin University in a bid to cultivate the next generation of security professionals.
The world’s largest private SaaS cloud security company hopes the programme will boost the number of skilled security professionals in Australia, the shortage of which is reaching ‘a critical point’.
“For Australia it’s almost at a critical point. As a cyber security company to find goods skills in the market is very hard. If you can’t attract skills locally, organisations have to go offshore and find people to bring into the country,” says MailGuard CTO Jason Pearce.
With the cyber security industry growing every year, a bigger talent pool is needed, says Pearce. Those companies that are able to hire quality candidates face the prospect of them being tempted away by competitors.
“Organisations that have built good security teams are under a lot pressure because there’s always a competitor who is trying to attract that talent. Staff retention is hard across the board. Companies need to put in counter measures,” says Pearce.
Students on computer science courses at Deakin will be offered six month internships with MailGuard with the first intake of three scheduled for July.
Pearce has high hopes for the new-starters who will be given exposure to various parts of the business.
“It’s good to get people exposed really quickly to the real risks of cyber security,” he says. “It’s not just a matter of reading a textbook and knowing what goes on. It’s really being involved, at the coal face, taking customer calls, running a customer resolution programme. It’s really important to really understand what it all means.”
Successful candidates will show academic ability and drive.
“It will be those sort of people who want to roll their sleeves up, get their hands dirty and really get into and learn what a high pressure environment looks like. For some it’ll be their first exposure to the workplace. I think it will be an exciting time for them and they’ll hopefully go back to their peers and exalt the wonders of working in the real world and get some interest in working in the cyber security space.”
With such a high demand for cyber security experts, and the industry forecast only to get bigger, what’s stopping graduates going into the profession?
“I don’t think we’ve done a good job of selling security as a great career path,” says Pearce. “The security space has a lot of excitement and things going, it’s constantly changing. Trying to outsmart the cyber criminals is a tough job. But I just don’t think we’ve done a good job of selling the industry as a whole. And that’s led to the massive skill shortage we have at the moment.”
MailGuard will also be working with Deakin University’s research and development teams, supplying working materials, and offering experts to share their real-world experience with students.