Microsoft expands its cybersecurity skills campaign to an additional 23 countries.
Cybersecurity continues to be a significant threat for organisations and individuals around the world and cybercriminals have become increasingly sophisticated and the threat landscape more diverse.
These cybersecurity challenges are compounded by a workforce shortage, there aren’t enough people with the cybersecurity skills needed to fill open jobs, according to industry watchers.
“This is a global problem. By 2025, there will be 3.5 million cybersecurity jobs open globally, representing a 350 per cent increase over an eight-year period. We recently announced a national skilling campaign in the United States, where for every two jobs in cybersecurity today, a third goes unfilled. The company is working with community colleges to help close the gap and increase diversity in the profession,” said Kate Behncken – Vice president and lead of Microsoft Philanthropies in a blog post.
The expansion is expected to see new targeted investments in countries like Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Poland, Romania, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. These countries have an elevated cyberthreat risk, coupled with a significant gap in their cybersecurity workforces both in terms of the number of professionals employed in cybersecurity vs. the demand, as well as a lack of diversity.
Plans for India
In India, Microsoft is building off its existing CyberShikshaa programme, which is helping break down the gender divide in the cybersecurity field.
“Since 2018, we have helped young women with technical training in cybersecurity with mentoring from industry experts, especially from women leaders in the field, followed by job placement assistance with leading companies,” Behncken added.
By 2025, the cybersecurity sector in India will have an estimated 1.5 million job vacancies. This represents a 42 per cent talent shortage even as cybersecurity job growth is projected to grow by 32 per cent by 2028, according to India’s Labor Bureau. The demand is there, but more must be done to meet it; most higher-education and technical institutes do not offer cybersecurity courses.
Microsoft has also partnered with ICT Academy, a non-profit partner in India, to develop cybersecurity training programs for educators and higher-education students at 100 institutions in five states, with an emphasis on rural colleges. Through this initiative, CyberShikshaa for Educators, help will be provided to more faculty become cybersecurity trainers, and then provide students cybersecurity training and job placement assistance to help them find new careers.
“In the first phase, we aim to train about 6,000 students and will then work with our partner network to connect students to job opportunities and internships,” Behncken concluded.