Cyber Crime Junkies

Newest Approaches In Security Careers. ESPORTS CTFs and New Career Fairs.

March 17, 2023 Cyber Crime Junkies-David Mauro Season 2 Episode 21
Cyber Crime Junkies
Newest Approaches In Security Careers. ESPORTS CTFs and New Career Fairs.
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Newest Approaches In Security Careers. ESPORTS CTFs and New Career Fairs. 

 Topics: newest approaches in security careers, epsorts approaches in security careers, newest job fairs for cyber security careers, understanding skills gap in security, esports in cyber security, gap in security job market, gaps in security job market, examples of skills gap in cyber security, skills and gender gaps in security, gender gap in cyber security, how to fix gender gap in cyber security, skills gap in cyber security, how to fix skills gap in security, innovative ways to gain experience, esports in cyber security and more.


->Think Tank info:
->Workshops we discussed are on this page:
>New scholarship program to cover or help offset the
costs of people entering the cybersecurity field. A portion of every
sponsorship and donation we receive goes into the scholarship fund.

Donation link for Scholarship

Connect with Jill Wideman:
->US Cyber Game:
Registration for Season III is open, and recruitment is
underway for athletes, coaches and sponsors. -
>International Cybersecurity Championship &
Conference (IC3):
Connect with Brad:
--> US Cyber Games:
--> PlayCyber:
Twitter Jay: @pwnsolvewin
US Cyber Games: @USCyberGames
PlayCyber: @KatzcyPlayCyber
Join Talent Gap Task Force reach out to us at: or to Jill personally at:

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Newest Approaches In Security Careers. ESPORTS CTFs and New Career Fairs. Topics: newest approaches in security careers, epsorts approaches in security careers, newest job fairs for cyber security careers, understanding skills gap in security, esports in cyber security, gap in security job market, gaps in security job market, examples of skills gap in cyber security, skills and gender gaps in security, gender gap in cyber security, how to fix gender gap in cyber security, skills gap in cyber security, how to fix skills gap in security, innovative ways to gain experience, esports in cyber security and more.
Newest Approaches In Security Careers. 

[00:00:00] It's always in the news. Cyber criminals attacking great organizations wreaking havoc on the trust of their brand. We socialized cybersecurity for you to raise awareness. Interviewing leaders who built and protect great brands. We help talented people enter into this incredible field and we share our research and blockbuster true cybercrime stories.

This is Cybercrime Junkies and now the show.

All right, well, welcome everybody to Cybercrime Junkies. I am your host David Morrow, and I am very honored in the studio today. We have two fantastic guests and are gonna get a lot out of this. We've got, Brad Wolfenden, director [00:01:00] of Cyber Sports. Several different organizations kind of elevating, cybersecurity awareness through gamification, through competition and eSports.

We've got some great discussions on that. And then we're gonna talk about what employers want, discuss these. Skills gap and, upcoming job fairs with Jill Wideman, who's the chief of staff at Gorilla Corp. And, both of you are, leaders in the Silicon Valley think tank that we're a part of. And, we welcome you both for attending.

Thank you so much for being here. Thank you. Thank you, David. So let's start, Jill, let's, , let's, approach the topic that we always hear, right? First of all, give the listeners and the viewers just a real recap of your current role and, what initiatives that you drive. So I am the Chief of Staff with Grow Corporation, which is a global marketing company that works with the technology industry.

We focus on being that connector and building the relationships [00:02:00] between vendors and their partners. And so we really help to drive initiatives to help, Increase profits and just increase the interactions between vendors and their partners. I am also really honored to be, the chief of staff for the Tutorial Brata Institute, which is a Silicon Valley think tank that focuses on partnerships.

We focus on partnerships and cybersecurity, AI and, cloud data. So I, my. Point for being here today is to really focus on the human talent gap in cybersecurity and ai and how the institute is working with, academia, public and private sector organizations to try and mitigate that issue.

And so I'm really excited to be here. That's great. Yeah. I mean, we hear all the time through the recruiters that we speak to, the cis that we meet, about the skills gap. They keep saying, you know, there's, there there's a skills gap. There's a lot on social media and in the regular standard, media about, you know, cybersecurity [00:03:00] has this skills gap to us personally.

Like it doesn't seem like there's a skills gap. It seems like there are hosts and hosts of talented resources that are going through traditional and non-traditional methods to get to break into cybersecurity. There's a passion here to. Enter this field because they are driven by a lot of factors, but mostly to serve and protect.

There's a greater calling here. Absolutely. And, and it's a great culture to, to be a part of. Right. Because there's, there's, there's a greater mission, but there doesn't seem to be a skills gap. Like what's your, what's your take on that phrase and what, what, what are you seeing in the market? So I think that the, our, our, one of our biggest issues is not that, that the people aren't there and that we aren't able to get there.

It's how are we looking for the people? What are we putting out there? You know, we need to look at everything from our hiring practices to [00:04:00] how we're posting our jobs to, to what we're willing to bring in and train. Because there are a ton of amazing people out there who are not going through a traditional four year.

 College path, as we've done in the past, or as you can do with several other jobs out there in, in the industry. You know, you go to, you wanna be in business, you go and you get a marketing degree, or you get a management degree or a financial degree, and you go through school and you do all of those classes and it's, it's consistent over.

Years as to the skills that you need to do those. But cybersecurity is not that way. It is constantly changing. It is constantly evolving, and we as an industry have got to change the way we're writing job descriptions and we're writing qualifications for those and how we're, we're hiring because we're not gonna find a unicorn that, that knows how to do everything in cybersecurity because it's just such a vast, you know.

Over [00:05:00] umbrella of, of what, you know, cybersecurity really is. There's so many ways to get into it and to support it from actually working on the computer and the coding and the, Programming side of it to management and program management and you know, there's just so many different ways to get into it and we have to open up what we're looking for.

We can't just expect that everybody's gonna go through a traditional four year college. We might have amazing people who are going through boot camps and certification programs, who are doing things like the cyber games, where they're out there just taking natural skills that they have in computer. Y just being on the, you know, on the computer and hacking and coding and, and they're gamifying that through things like the cyber games and why are we not chasing these people?

Because that's really where we're gonna find the talent that we need to fill, the gaps that we have. Absolutely. That, that was, that was put very well. When I think about [00:06:00] it, it, it seems like, there are so many different. Challenges that people have when they're looking to break into cybersecurity.

There's, you know, entry level. Let, let me ask you this, like, are there entry level positions in cybersecurity? I think that there are entry. Do they, do they exist? I think that there are entry level positions. I think that, I think that companies are, to an extent, we're having, we're seeing such an increase in.

in the cyber breaches and, and all of the issues that we're seeing. I think that some companies are, are feeling overwhelmed and they're a little bit behind the game in having support to handle things on their stuff. And so they're wanting to hire in all of the experience, but there are so many people out there that if we can start being proactive in this, we can get people in and train them up through where we want them to be and let them come in and learn alongside.

You know, experts that are already doing it, and we [00:07:00] can build out the teams that we want. And we're not, again, we're not gonna find it in one person. We're gonna have, well, that's exactly into, so let's define our terms, right? Because when we think of. We want an entry level position in cybersecurity.

Well, the truth is, is the ideal model. There is no, no, no matter how brilliant one person can be, they cannot know it all. Especially in cybersecurity. They can't know red teaming, blue teaming, purple teaming, all the compliance, the incident,, response planning, the operational resilience. and then have the business acumen to make internal business cases to get the resources.

Those are several different skill sets that no one person has, right? Absolutely. I mean, I think we all, we all understand that, but I think there's great value in having somebody senior inside an organization and then recruiting young talent that can be mentor. , right. [00:08:00] That can be brought up. And when we say no experience, right, or entry level, I don't.

That we really mean, and when I say we, I mean like from an employer's standpoint or even from the employee candidate standpoint, that we really mean no clue what cybersecurity's about, like I was doing cosmetic sales and now I'm a cybersecurity specialist. No, that's, that's not, that leap of entry level is, is not realistic.

I think that's fair, but they're, but what they mean by entry level, generally, from what I see is. Okay. You might not have worked in a SOC before, right? You might not have worked for a company, you know, underneath a CISO before, but you've done things like created a home lab. You've done, try hack me, you've attended cyber games, capture the flags, things like that.

Work shows that you [00:09:00] know how to do the job well. And you're passionate about learning and moving up within that organization. Is that along the lines of some of the guidance we can give people? I think absolutely. I think absolutely we, we need to recognize that. , and again, when you look at, at the people that are coming into this industry, I mean, how many of them have been, you know, hacking around on their computers since they were in middle school or Oh, yeah.

Earlier. You know what I mean? We're, we're looking at bringing people in so they may not have traditional experience. Absolutely in the workforce, but that doesn't mean that they don't have the capabilities. It doesn't mean that they don't have the experience or the insight to be able to think outside the box and look at the problem at hand and find a solution for you.

Absolutely. And, and a lot of the CISOs that we talk to, that work for mid-size organizations, smaller organizations, they're not even placing a four year college degree requirement. [00:10:00] Some of the larger companies just have like a blanket. Requirement for that, but I think exceptions need to be made because if somebody can do the job right and can demonstrate it through their home labs, their experience through the events that they've attended, and, and they can show those results from those events, all of that, I mean, there's so many certifications, there's so many different ways to demonstrate.

Within a point of time I knew this and since then I continue to. Advance in my, professional development. Well, absolutely, and I mean, there is a, you know, a needs gap out there for sure of, you know, several million people worldwide within this industry. If we aren't looking at alternative ways to bring people into this, we're never going to meet that, absolutely.

That gap. And when you look at, when you look. The high school level. Now we're starting [00:11:00] to see, I know in my school district with STEM and STEAM education, and we're starting to see programs where they're, they're getting comp TIA certifications in high school. Absolutely. You know, they're working with Cisco and they're getting certified through Cisco in high school where they can get out and come into the industry with a certain level of.

Of education in, in the field, and we need to be open to hiring those people. We look at, you know, our military men and women that are coming out, that are going through boot camps and getting re-skilled to be able to come into the industry. These are people that have the ability to, to look at a problem and to think through it and to think outside the box.

And to attack it, we need to be looking at these people, to, to bring them in and know that there is gonna be a level of training up that we have to do within our own organizations. But, you know, as a past business owner, bringing somebody in that has just the basic level that I can [00:12:00] train up to do it the way I want it.

That's, you know, that's really valuable from, you know, from my point of view as, as a business owner, to be able to do that. To know that they're gonna be doing it the way I want it done, that they're gonna go through our processes and they're gonna work within our organization to. To meet the goals that we have.

Absolutely. And there's a lot of value in that. Yeah. No, and thank you for that, Jill. So I wanna, I wanna mix it up here because then, and then I wanna return to this topic cause I wanna talk about boot camps. I'd like to talk about, the military transition because there are so many in trade schools, traditional trade schools that people would think of coming outta school.

Well, I'm, I, I don't feel like I wanna go to a four year college. I want to go be a plumber or a welder or whatever. And they've got the, the county trade schools. Those are now today some of the breeding grounds of future cybersecurity leaders. Right?

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Thank you for your support, and now let's get back to it.

Right. So let's circle back with that. But first I want to, introduce and address Brad, who is all decked in his cyber games and eSports gear. And it's really exciting to see. So when, [00:14:00] I was really excited about having somebody on that can talk about this. I love, I'm a huge fan of eSports. Like, I think it's so cool.

I think gamification, like. Kids go to traditional, you know, they get in the bus, they go to traditional school, and then they come back and what do they do? They spend hours and games. Right. But what I've seen in the last few years in the K-12 system is the gamification of it, right? The, the asking of questions through polls and responders and things like that.

And kids love it, right? So to can, so tell us about how you. First introduce yourself, your background, please. Okay. So, and, and then let's get into like, how do we, how are we driving eSports and, and, and games like that into cybersecurity experience. Great. Thanks David. So good morning. Good afternoon everybody.

My name's Brad Wolfenden. I'm the director of cyber sports here at Kasi. Play Cyber. A big part of my responsibility these days is to, run the US Cyber Games program. And how I got there is, is a pretty convoluted [00:15:00] path and I speak, think it speaks to a lot of what we've been discussing and finding candidates from different backgrounds.

So my professional career actually started in private education. did a lot of work for, organizations that were, writing various standardized tests and providing tutoring and things like that. And from there, moved into the cybersecurity field through a learning and training platform.

 And one that the, developing organization behind the platform was looking to transition it away from a, a pretty d o d centric. Products into one that could support both commercial and academic partners. So I, there's, there's so many interesting things that have been discussed throughout this morning already that I'm just like, 

And so, you know, when, when we're talking about are there entry level roles in cyber, of course there are, are when we're talking about how do we kind of switch up the conversation around. Recruitment and rewriting job descriptions and creating language in the interview process and, around qualifications that speak to a wider [00:16:00] audience, that are, , a little bit more, kind of, intentional, , in terms of, , truly looking for diversity in candidates and in thought and in, and, and really pulling out that piece that I think we're talking about as aptitude.

 Then finally when we're looking at, , how we then land conversations with parents, with counselors, with educators, with religious leaders, with business owners, it's, it's having more of these conversations. You know, I think most people are pretty comfortable about talking about the pathway into medicine or how to become a lawyer.

 Mentorship set up, right? You wanna, you wanna go become a lawyer. When I was going through school, they were like, you can go spend a day with Uncle Sal and they will show you what it's like to be a trial lawyer, right? And I would go do that. I was like, that's pretty cool. All right. I could see doing that.

Did that for a while, figured out it wasn't for me. I wanted to do , rather than breaking down business, nothing against the practice, but rather than breaking down businesses and filing suit and destroying things, I wanted [00:17:00] to build things up. And so, yeah. , you know, and cybersecurity has a, has a greater calling.

It's more patriotic kind of vision. Bigger than ourselves. Yeah. And so that desire to kind of serve and protect is what drives me personally. Yeah. But what, so, so tell us about the, the, the cyber games. Like what, and, and, and what you're doing at your organization. Like what is it, explain it to, somebody that has no idea about.

Yeah. Great. So the US Cyber Games program, we are about to kick off our third season. , it really came to be through, an opportunity that, was presented to the US from Anisa, the European Union Agency for cybersecurity. And for the past seven or eight years, Anisa start things first. In Europe.

It's like fashion. It's like fashion, right? I'm, I'm stuck here in the Midwest. I just looked at what the coasts are doing and then I see what's coming. Right. It's like in cybersecurity. I always look to like Europe to see what's. Our, our, our jerseys are pretty sweet though,[00:18:00] . So the, the Europeans had held, the European Cybersecurity competition for seven or eight years.

 There was some interest across the EU to, expand that competition to include, some international, participants. So they had reached out to the US through, NIST's National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education. , at that time I was the co-chair of the competition's public working group.

The opportunity to essentially recruit, train, and send a team to compete on behalf of the us had been identified. As I mentioned, a lot of my cybersecurity background was in training and education. Did large scale military exercises, did a lot of work in the public and private sector, you know, tabletops and , cyber emergency response type stuff, blending backgrounds and creating academic material for, those coming from cyber from all angles.

And that's so critical for organizations because I see so many organizations. Just as a rule, we deal with mid-size organizations, enterprise, and a lot of small businesses throughout the US in North [00:19:00] America, and we see so many that are just coming along creating policies. Yeah. And now we're asking them, have you practiced them?

Yeah. , it's, and, and they look at you and they're like, I don't understand. I've never heard of that. And I'm like, Don't your kids do fire drills in school, right? Right. Your kids like, if we didn't, then if when there's an actual fire, right, they're gonna be running down the hall, bumping into each other, not knowing where the exit is, right?

Mm-hmm. , we do fire drills. That's what this is, once a year, once a quarter, depending on the size, the needs, the environment, just. Practice who does? It's like a living racy document, right? Like, who does what, who has to be consulted? Who has to be advised? Who's contacting the lawyers PR , who's handling the technical aspects, right?

Who's sitting there watching the screen as all of the files go white during a ransomware attack? Like who's doing what? Like a lot of people don't know, like they have. Acceptable use policy. Okay. We feel better. We're doing that. Okay. You're not secure yet. You're not [00:20:00] strengthening yet. It's the building of that operational resilience.

Yeah. And so this gamification and the education of it is what you've been driving historically. Yeah. And so the, the US Cyber Games program is focused kind of in, in two areas. First of all, throughout the season we very much model our initiative around. eSports, athletics, cybersecurity, competitions, gamification, all of those things.

And there's lots of reasons why I'm sure we'll get into some of that in a little bit. The season's structured kind of in, in some various core parts. And we start every season with what we call the US cyber open. It's a 10 day long capture, the flag events all virtual open to anyone and everyone regardless of age, regardless of nationality, et cetera.

Really. Okay. Yeah, so we will, we'll have links to all of this in the show notes. So, and this episode will be released next week. So please check this out, sign up for these games. And there's also a job fair that we'll get into in just a second with, with Jill. That's gonna be coming up that's gonna help people break into security or advance their, [00:21:00] their, their careers in security links to all that will be in the show notes.

Please take advantage of. So go, go ahead, Brad. Didn't mean to interrupt. Yep. No, it's all good. So we, we kind of use that to fill our pipeline. We, we call those that participate in the US cyber games program. We call them our athletes. And moving from the US cyber open. We then second phase of the season is what we call.

US cyber combine and it's structured after the NFL combine, for example. Exactly. Familiar. Exactly the same. Oh, this is great. Only kids that never come out of the room can participate and, and adults now that never went out of the room as kids can. Great. I love it. I love it. Yeah. And so within the combine, this is an invite only portion of the season.

And this is, where does that come from? The first. Does it come from the first pool? Okay. Yep, yep, yep. So the, the Combine essentially will have about 85 90 athletes that we invite into the combine. And it's a, a six to eight week training program. Much [00:22:00] more kind of structured in terms of we have various subject matter experts, our coaches and our mentors offering technical lectures.

We have various hands-on activities and exercises that are planned. We have our sponsors and partners coming in and offering resume writing workshops and career building networking type engagement sessions. And then ultimately all of this leads up to draft day where we identify our athletes for that season.

And that really kicks off the formal training and kind of preparation for the big events every year is the International Cybersecurity Championships. And, and is this, is this federally funded? Who's, who's funding this? Is this that's, you know, I know people always wanna follow the money, so like, yeah.

like who's, who's funding this? Like, these, these are brilliant ideas. Is this. Can, can you elaborate in part? It is federally funded. So we Great are in a five year cooperative agreement with the National Initiative for Cyber Security Education. Great. Which is a department under nist. Yep. And then we're also very thankful to another [00:23:00] federal government founding partner in department of Homeland Securities csa.

Love it, love cisa. And then of course, lots of, lots of industry comes in and, and jumps on board. You know, from, from their perspective. It's, it's a great way to recruit. You know and so folks like MasterCard and Microsoft and, you know, a bunch of others that believe in our mission, that believe in you know, kind of driving the conversation towards more experiential, hands-on learning and, and networking opportunities.

So that's a little bit about the US Cyber Games program. That's great. How long is the season? Like, like once it gets to your open, then you have the combine and then the season starts. Are, is that, are there individuals pitted against individuals? Is it broken up into teams? New Jersey, so the, the US cyber Open will kick off.

Our, our virtual kickoff event is Thursday, June 1st. So coming up here in great couple months. Okay. Perfect timing. Yeah. And then the, the CTF will start on the second. And, and we, we offer two different sides of the ctf. So we have the beginner's game room which is intended for folks that have absolutely zero background competing or participating [00:24:00] in capture the flag competitions.

And then we have the competitive ctf. And so those are, are much more kind of challenging problems. We focus the ctf primarily in five categories cryptography. Forensics tone, reverse engineering and web. And from there, it's, it's all an individual competition at the, at the beginning.

And so it's, you know, kind of come, come join the program. Let's get to know you. There's a whole application that we'll ask you to fill out just so we can, we can better get to know who you are, where you're coming from why you want to be part of the program. All of that kind of stuff. And then once we move into the combine, it becomes a mix of kind of to put our finger on the, the technical chops at an individual level level, but then also looking at some small group work and some team-based activities and, and all of those power skills that come into play when we're looking at.

A successful cybersecurity professional. You know, we're looking for leadership. We're looking for communication. We're looking for active problem solving skills and, and being able to kind of pivot and, and take information in and, and [00:25:00] make decisions on those. Yeah. Okay. That's fantastic. So, and for those listeners that because we get a lot of people from all over that, that will listen or watch this, and for those that don't know what Ct f a is, it's capture the flag.

Can you just do a quick explanation what is, capture the flag. Yeah, it's a great question. So capture the flag. You'll hear it referenced in, in multiple ways how, how we run our programs as a jeopardy style, capture the flag. And so you have your five categories, those that I mentioned, crypto, forensics, poem, reverse engineering and web.

And within each of those categories, there will be problems to be solved and each problem is worth a certain number of points. And some of those problems will take a couple of minutes to solve, and some of those problems could take several hours or, or going on a day to solve. And based off of the category and the problem, excuse me, different skills will be tested.

So you might be engaging in some pretty complex math on the cryptography side. You might be engaging in some open source intelligence [00:26:00] gathering for some forensics work. For example or you might be looking at a piece of malware or, or, you know, reverse engineering a binary. Web applications are, are much more focused on various web exploits and, and sometimes you'll see categories like mobile security and internet of things or critical infrastructure.

So they, they can move and then they, they, they move through that, and then there's a winner with the most points at the end. . Yep. That's phenomenal. That's, that's excellent. So, so something that you just mentioned gets back to what Jill and I were speaking about, and that is the helping them and mentoring them.

These are people from all walks of life that engage in these. eSports and these capture the flag events, which is phenomenal. But there's another element that once you get into a position in any company, in any field, right, you need to learn how to have effective communications, how to communicate not just externally, right?

When dealing with clients or customers, but [00:27:00] internal communications making a business case, right? Mm-hmm. , there's. Even Harvard classes online about, you know, making an internal business case and how to do that, how to communicate effectively through, you know, various methods, right? In person, live by phone, email, there's different tactics and, and methodologies.

So let me ask Jill this. Like I let, what's the role of mentorship in that and how does somebody that doesn't go through, let's say, traditional four year college, gain that expertise? You know, I think that, I think that that a lot of those skills really are a mentoring type skill. I mean, it's really, I mean, you can, you can take a class on how to build a business case, but learning how to effectively communicate, I.

that's a lost skill because our kids are so used to texting . I mean, you might have a group of kids [00:28:00] all sitting in the same room texting each other instead of having a conversation. Oh, you know, oh yeah. I've raised, I've raised four, and if you ever wanna slow 'em down, leave them a note in cursive , yes. I just leave them, I write my notes in cursive and they're like, it took me like an hour to figure that out.

I'm like, seriously? What are they teaching you? Kids? You know? So I, I think that, I think that some of those communication skills really are taught within the workplace. They're taught within those mentoring relationships because it's just, well, I would agree, Yeah. And every organization's gonna be a little different, right.

How, how to effectively communicate with a certain person their, their behavior, right? But I think that's a really, Skill to, to keep in mind of something else that you have to learn, right? I, I think it is, and I think that if you're interested in learning that, you know, outside of work, going and looking at some of the different personality tests and stuff like that and understanding 'em.

Yeah. LinkedIn Learning has some things. Yeah. LinkedIn Learning or [00:29:00] Demi, there's skill, like there's a whole bunch of places out there that can personals and there's colors and. And absolutely, and, you know, gems and all of that. But I think it's really great to, to take the time to go out and, and read about some of those different types of personalities and stuff.

Because then you start having a conversation with somebody and you start to pick up on, you know, how they. You know how they communicate? Absolutely. You know, I, I personally like, like the colors and so it's, it's red, yellow, green, and blue, and I've done that one. And, and so when I'm having a conversation with somebody, I start associating a color with them because then I know how to talk back to them.

You know, when I'm having a conversation, if I want them to do something, I know that if they're very analytical, I need to talk. You know, very much towards the analytics. If they're right, absolutely unpleasant, whatever, then I talk to 'em a completely different way so that I get my point across. And so I think that that taking the time to learn some of those skills is, is really important.

Yeah. [00:30:00] So what are we, what are, what's the position and, and this is a question for both of you, like what do we feel about boot camps that are out there? Because I hear both sides, like people spend a lot of money and time on these things, and there there's a frustration with them, and then some others really have leveraged that to.

G gain entry into organizations that otherwise they couldn't get an interview with. Like, what are you, any, any thoughts on like the host of boot camps that are out there? Go ahead, Brad. Yeah, I'm happy to kick things off. I, I think like with anything, there are, there are great boot camps and there are not so great boot camps.

But what I think is the, the really important piece about sort of the emergence of things like boot camps is that it's, it is shifting the paradigm and it is pushing the needle in terms of how we recruit, where our pipeline exists and, and. Kind of [00:31:00] breaking that, you know, centuries old mindset of you spend x number of hours in the classroom, you're now educated how I want you to be, and now therefore I can hire you.

And so it's, it's that time-based mentality towards expertise and experience that is really kind of being shattered with some of these new approaches to developing the workforce. Like I said, I, I, I think there are some boot camps that do it really well. And I think that there are some that are out to make a buck.

And you know, that's kind of true with any industry. But like I said, the, the, the, the most important thing here is it, is it is shifting that paradigm and it is bringing awareness around the fact that somebody doesn't have to have a four year degree from Harvard and five years of experience, and therefore now they're qualifi.

Yep. Absolutely. I think the piece that I would add to that is just like any other form of education that you're gonna do, you're gonna do research about, you know, the school or the institute that you're going to, to, to to, to get your education. And [00:32:00] so you need to do your research and figure out.

You know, a good quality program and you know, it's like anything else. Read the reviews and, and alumni is really important, right? Like, check the alumni because the people that have gone through it, can they help you? Can you learn from them? Things like that, right, John? And then, yes, and then you, you get out of your education, what you put into it.

It doesn't matter what industry, it doesn't matter where you're at, how much time and energy are you putting into what you're trying to learn, and what are you gonna get out of that? Because, because some of it is the teachers and the professors and whoever's leading, and some of it is. , your grit and what you right have a desire to learn and how much effort you're willing to put into figuring it out and making yourself a success.

Sure. Absolutely. So what is coming up in the in the near future? So, Jill, you had mentioned before we went live, there's a job fair coming up, and so [00:33:00] let's talk about our, you know, all of us belong to the think tank. You guys are involved in leadership in the think tank. Let's talk about what the think tank is, what it does, and then the job fair that's coming.

Yeah, absolutely. So the, the think tank is, is a way for us to bring people from private, public, academia, other nonprofits together to try and solve problems. And, and our focus is is on the partnerships, bringing the right people together to, to look at the problems that are going on in our world and how can we bring the right people together to try and find a solution towards that and where we.

Are now from where we were three years ago, is, is so completely different. And it's because of the amazing people that have joined the institute that have brought topics to us that have said, I'm really passionate about this. I really wanna be a part of this. I wanna take this further than just this one conversation that we've had that have led to task forces like our human talent [00:34:00] gap in cyber and ai.

We. Doing monthly webinars on different hot topics. We're having round table discussions. We're having smaller hot topic panels that get together and have conversations around different topics. And one of our conversations with one of our members was that they were part of another organization and.

People were coming out of finishing their degree in cybersecurity finishing their certifications, and they were struggling to, to get a job. You know, they're struggling to get the interviews and to, to actually, you know, get their foot in the door. And so we'd started talking about, How we could support that.

And we are putting together a five week workshop series starting on April 26th. And each week we're going to have a a workshop that focuses on different areas to support getting your job. So we're gonna do a resume writing, and we're gonna have HR experts and talent and acquisition. Life coaches coming in and talking about how you're presenting [00:35:00] yourself on your resume, on your LinkedIn profile, where people are going and looking and, and just supporting getting that right initial contact out there.

We're gonna be talking about the interview process and the difference between virtual and in-person interviews because we're seeing a mix of that. These days and, and what that looks like. That's how you prepare yourself for that. And again, it's, it's showcasing the skills that you have and how you put yourself out there and present yourself, because you may not meet every single requirement that's listed on, you know, that HR job description.

But if you present your skills properly, there's still an opportunity for you to get your foot in the door with that company. We're gonna talk about continuing education and the importance, especially in this industry, of constantly being up on what's going on and staying and tune and continuing to grow yourself in the field.

And we're gonna be talking about networking and the benefits of meeting people and, and making those relationships within your community and within [00:36:00] different organizations where you have that opportunity to get help getting into the field that you want, and then we'll work. Our goal is to have a job fair at the end of that on May 24th open to anybody.

It's not. You know, for a specific group, we're opening it up to everybody. We're reaching out to colleges and universities and people that have cyber programs. , we're reaching out to other organizations. We're partnering with the Association of US Cyber Forces on this initiative to reach out to our military men and women that are trying to re-skill and get into the field.

So it's, it's really wide open to, to everybody where we can try and just make a difference and help people get their foot in the door. And. Fill that needs gap that we're seeing. Can people attend the job fair? Remotely it, the job fair will be remote? Yes. Excellent. Excellent. We are doing, cause I know somebody was asking about that, so that's fantastic.

Yeah. So you can attend, if you can see this, you can attend that, right? Absolutely. And that's really key. And if you are a company hiring, reach out to us. Cause we [00:37:00] are, we are opening it up. We wanna get as many companies in that are hiring as possible. We've sent out emails to several hundred people to start.

That's great. That process. And we are just trying to get people in. We're looking for corporate sponsors to help make this big. Absolutely. Oh, that's fantastic, Jill. So, I mean, I I, I love seeing that and you know, it, it, it, it begs the question of like a slippery slope that traditional, let's say you, you're going the traditional path where you're going through the four year college, right?

But a lot of kids will go to that. They'll get their textbook education right, and then they'll come home and they'll have a summer. That's unrelated to cybersecurity, right? Mm-hmm. . Yeah. And that's, they're almost at a disadvantage cuz then when they graduate and they're trying and, and the employers are asking, can you demonstrate anything that you've learned?

Well, I graduated with a 3.8 gpa as opposed, you know at a, at a four. And they're like, okay, that's good. What do you know how to do? Right. And by [00:38:00] participating in the eSports and the capture of the flags, going to boot camps, engaging in job fairs, networking, all of those things, like creating that self brand even at a young age is so critical.

Yeah. That's something that nobody's really, nobody's really showing kids to do this. Right? Absolutely. I think that's, I wish I had some of this stuff when I was breaking into, you know, the field and, and going to my first interviews. Yeah, I mean, when I was, when I was coming out that we had to pay to be online.

So let's not even get there. . It's not, that was a long time ago. So Brad, what's coming up on the agenda for you? Like the, the eSports games. Just give us the timeline. We're gonna have links to the job fair, the think tank all of the cyber games how to register. All of that will be in the show notes, so take advantage of that everybody.

Yeah. So there are two, two main initiatives in the near future with the US Cyber Games program. One, there's the season three kickoff. And that will be Thursday, June 1st, we'll have a virtual event, [00:39:00] introduce all of the new folks to the program, have some great guest speakers, keynotes, panel discussions.

It'll be about three hours starting 3:00 PM Eastern time on Thursday, June 1st. And then the other big event that we're, we're planning for is this coming summer. And that will be both a virtual and in person hybrid opportunity. Live streamed from San Diego, California will be the International Cybersecurity Championships and Conference.

And so as I mentioned, the, the US Cyber Games program was really founded around an initiative to recruit, train, and send. A team to compete on behalf of the US at the I CCC International Cybersecurity Championships. Last year we sent the team USA to Athens, Greece to compete. This year, the US gets to play hosts.

We're tracking about 67 countries or so that will be participating. And so when I talk about the initiative behind the US cyber, For your international audience, most other corners of the globe have similar kind of opportunities. Yeah. Especially for, for young people to be involved. And so you know, there, [00:40:00] there are teams from Latin America and Asia and Africa and Europe and Canada and Australia and New Zealand region.

So truly global in terms of opportunities here, and each region team will structure their training and recruitment and development slightly different. It's kind of up to them to plan that. But we'll be hosting the international games in San Diego. It, like I said, it will be live streams. And that will run July 31st through August 4th.

It's the week right before Black Hat. That's fantastic. So we'll have links to all of that in the show notes. Jill, Brad, thank you so much. It has been a fantastic discussion and absolutely love what you guys are doing. Like, this is so good. It's exactly what the field needs to draw in good talent and, and train them up and get people excited about it.

 we're, we're really excited to be part of it. And thank you guys so much. We really appreciate it. Thank you. Thanks for having us, David. Okay, thanks everybody. Check out the show notes. Reach out to Brad or Jill. We'll have their LinkedIn information, follow them, connect with them [00:41:00] on social media.

We'll have all that information in the show notes. Thanks everybody and appreciate everybody attending and watching. So thank you so much. Have a great day everybody. Thank you. You too. Take care.

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