If you were to play word association with ‘spy’, many stereotypical images spring to mind. Eastern Bloc figures swapping briefcases in London parks and James Bond villains are just two. This rather dated perception is however now due for an overhaul.
Key to this is their representation in modern culture. In the UK, we’ve been wowed and thrilled by ‘spooks’ portrayed in TV drama series. They are often the good guys and girls fighting to protect our safety and wellbeing against an increasing number of terror threats.
A case of jumping from fiction to fact was the recent announcement by UK Chancellor George Osborne that intelligence agencies such as MI5, MI6 and Government Communications Headquarters are to get nearly £2 million to fight terrorism. Part of this funding will support the battle against cyber attacks.
Judging by Osborne’s ongoing campaign to make unprecedented public sector savings in the UK, this is no mean feat. A Whitehall source commented: “This has been one of George’s personal priorities. It is vitally important we look after these budgets and they were settled last week with agreement at the very highest level.”
In a time when young people across the world are having a real battle of their own to find employment, or forge careers, this funding is welcome. Jobs and opportunities in cyber security are continuing to rise. Just visit www.cybersecuritycareers.com for proof. This gives hope to our future IT pioneers.
So we know there are jobs and demand in cyber security. The key challenge is ensuring students get the right education needed to enter this profession. In the UK, the schools curriculum is currently undergoing a review. I’d like to see the teaching of computing become more inspirational, focusing on industry roles models, to ensure young people are eager to enter cyber security.
I’ve banged the drum about the global IT skills gap many times. Something I’ll continue to do until we see a change. It’s clear that the need for cyber security professionals will only increase in the future. Let’s look at this with clarity – it’s a golden opportunity to create thousands of global jobs. This will help the worldwide economy and is an opportunity not to be missed.
So, the next time you find yourself sitting in a park in London and see shady figures swapping information, possibly to endanger our safety, here’s hoping there’s a cyber security spook nearby to counteract such threats. Stay vigilant!