Cyber security experts from BT, Airbus, the National Crime Agency, the Bank of England, Cisco, McAfee, Checkpoint, De Montfort University’s Cyber Technology Institute and 4PumpCourt have announced that they will stage “the most advanced Cyber Security Challenge UK Masterclass ever” on 12-14 November in London.
Spanning two-and-a-half days, Masterclass is the culmination of a year’s worth of nationwide face-to-face and online competitions designed to unearth and nurture new talent for the cyber security industry and address a critical skills shortage that affects Government, businesses and the public.
Led by BT in partnership with Airbus, the competition will see dozens of the UK’s top cyber enthusiasts face each other in a battle that will test their capabilities to deal with cyber attacks and their understanding of business know-how. The challenges will evaluate contestants’ technical, business and soft skills, in turn mirroring the different ways in which professionals communicate today.
This year’s Masterclass will demonstrate how cyber security can be an accessible career choice that has a number of different facets and pathways. BT recently identified 87 different roles in the cyber security industry, each requiring a different skill set, which will be reflected in this year’s competition.
Highly experienced professionals from Government as well as public and private sector organisations across the country will judge the contestants for a number of aptitudes that will rank their suitability for jobs in the sector. The best performing candidate will be crowned Cyber Security Challenge UK Champion.
Thousands of pounds’ worth of career-enabling prizes will be issued to those who take in the finale including training courses, tech equipment and even a fully paid-for Master’s degree sponsorship at De Montfort University, allowing one lucky contestant the chance to study for an MSc in Cyber Security.
Over the years, more than half of the contestants in the Challenge’s face-to-face and Masterclass competitions have moved into jobs in the industry after demonstrating their skills in front of assessors.
Competitions like this are crucial for identifying top quality recruits that could reduce the skills deficit. Industry association (ISC)2 predicts the skills gap will reach 1.8 million unfilled positions by 2022, leaving a lack of professionals able to defend our infrastructure from hackers.
Nigel Harrison, acting CEO at Cyber Security Challenge UK, said: “This year’s consortium of sponsors is working on taking Masterclass to the next level, adding new dimensions and levels of game-play that we’ve yet to see in our competitions to date. We’re always trying to match our challenges to the way in which industry is evolving and ensure that they test for the skills industry requires. We look forward to seeing how the finalists fare in a modern cyber security scenario.”
Rob Partridge, head of BT’s Cyber Academy, added: “Filling the cyber security skills deficit is immensely important for the long-term safety of the UK’s digital economy. We need to make sure that industry and Government are collaborating such that young people are engaged and switched on to the breadth of roles in cyber security and the various career paths available to them. These competitions are vitally important for unearthing hidden talent and helping to develop the next generation of UK cyber talent to the standard being set in many other countries.”
Kevin Jones, head of cyber security architecture and innovation at Airbus, explained: “In order to continue protecting vital UK infrastructure and businesses from both current and future cyber threats, it’s particularly important that we address the skills shortage. Competitions such as Cyber Security Challenge UK help to provide a safe and representative environment for contestants to gain experience and learn from industry experts, which in turn will help them understand the variety of skills needed and the careers available within the cyber security sector.”