BT, in conjunction with GCHQ and the new National Crime Agency (NCA) are set to join forces as they search out the new breed of computer security experts.

Experts from each of the three organisations will work together to design the final of this year’s Cyber Security Challenge UK which is set to take place in March of next year.

“Experts from each organisation will work together over the coming months to design the final of this year’s Cyber Security Challenge UK, a nationwide competition programme to bring more talented people into the cyber security profession and address a critical skills shortage that affects government bodies, businesses and citizens alike.”

The final of the competition is set to be contested by 42 individuals who have been chosen over the last 10 months via a combination of face-to-face and virtual battles. The finalists were picked based upon their abilities in both technical challenges and also in business-oriented risk analysis.

In the grand final the contestants will be asked to demonstrate a range of skills within a simulated work environment. The eventual winner will be the person who demonstrates a high level of technical, interpersonal and decision making skills.

Identifying such talent is vitally important as many of the countries of the world are experiencing a shortage of talent in this area. Francis Maude, the government’s Minister for the Cabinet office who has particular responsibility for Cyber Security Strategy said:

 “We are very pleased to support The Cyber Security Challenge through our National Cyber Security Programme – it provides an innovative approach to identifying talent for the cyber security sector, ensuring we have a new cadre of cyber security professionals ready to make the UK one of the safest places to do business online.”

And its not just government that is looking to discover and employ the brightest new talent in the sector. Dr Bob Nowill, BT’s cyber director, told TechWeekEurope:

“We need skills in general security stuff… but within that there’s very deep skills, down into the depths of ethical hacking, penetration, networks, firewalls… all the skills you’d expect from a modern nation. The 40 or so people who make the final are hugely employable… the vast majority will be offered [something] by people like BT, GCHQ , the NCA, whoever.

We simply don’t have enough of those skills.”

Those who have made their way to the final of the competition will be fighting for a range of prizes worth around £100,000 which include career development and educational opportunities. These prizes come in the form of bursaries, private sector training courses, paid internships and access to other valuable resources such as professional expertise and those all important networking opportunities.

The competition has already handed out over £200,000 value of career enhancing opportunities to over 100 previous participants, some of whom are now working as security professionals.

Lee Miles, Deputy Head of the National Cyber Crime Unit, which is part of the NCA, said:

“These sorts of initiatives are vital for attracting talented people to consider careers in security and in law enforcement.”

If you would like to enter the Cyber Security Challenge UK then you can register yourself here.

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