Are gamers the answer to the cybersecurity skills gap?
- Gamers may be the logical next step to lessening the cybersecurity skills gap, McAfee said in releasing a new report, Winning the Game.
- The report is based on a survey that polled senior security managers and security professionals in public-and private-sector organizations. Nearly all (92%) of respondents said they believe that gaming affords players experience and skills critical to cybersecurity threat hunting: logic, perseverance, an understanding of how to approach adversaries and a fresh outlook compared to traditional cybersecurity hires.
- In fact, three-quarters of senior managers said they would consider hiring a gamer even if that person had no specific cybersecurity training or experience.
Hiring is up as companies around the world work to address cyber threats. With how entrenched the skills gap in IT and cybersecurity is, however, it's not clear whether hiring will be enough. The idea of turning to gamers is certainly a novel one, although at least one expert has raised concerns that such a move would, among other things, worsen diversity in a field already struggling with such efforts.
Many companies are instead opting to upskill current employees to fill their needs. For IT professionals, the desire to persue cybersecurity is there, but training will be necessary. And separately from the McAfee report's suggestion, gamification has been shown to be a boon for learners in any discipline. The techniques that the report mentions — employing logic, for example — have been shown to boost knowledge retention and improve learning engagement. If nothing else, applying those methodologies could help narrow the skills gap in various industries for both today and tomorrow’s needs.