With a projection of 1.8 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs expected by 2020 (Frost & Sullivan, 2017), the cybersecurity skills gap simply cannot be ignored. While hackers are growing in number and sophistication, those fighting back are facing empty seats on the other end of the wire – putting our businesses, data and even critical infrastructure that our society depends on at risk. To address this ongoing shortage of talent, organizations are pursuing new and creative ways to develop and attract skills — including new education programs, technical and vocational programs, apprenticeships, certifications, early education and government programs. Many cybersecurity jobs can be filled through a “new collar” approach that involves tapping professionals who may not have a traditional college degree but do have the needed technical skills and aptitudes. In exploring this approach, we look at how IBM is leveraging this model to help build the pipeline of cybersecurity talent that will help protect our digital futures.
Valinda Kennedy has her Bachelor's degree in Applied Mathematics with a minor in computer science plus extensive experience working with IBM clients now into her 31st year. Her work has covered security across multiple enterprise platforms and environments. Her most recent industry badge credentials include the industry Security Intelligence badge issued via Acclaim.
In addition to technical, services sales and managerial / executive roles, Valinda is on several university advisory councils including: Northwestern University, Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Missouri, as part of her commitment for ongoing collaboration between industry and education outcomes. As part of maintaining relationships with academic, industry and government leaders, Valinda has a blog with a global reach to enable faculty and students with industry technologies and business use cases.
Valinda was acknowledged in the IBM Institute for Business Value paper, It's not where you start it's how you finish: Addressing the cybersecurity skills gap with a new collar approach, updated 09 May 2017.
Today, Valinda works on the IBM Global University programs team talking with academic, government and industry leaders to develop and implement programs to focus on reducing gaps in critical skills area with cyber security being a critical focus area.