IBM Launches Cybersecurity Skills Initiative for “New Collar” Job

Announces New Programs & Recommendations to Expand Cybersecurity Workforce Pipeline

ARMONK, N.Y., May 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — IBM (NYSE:  IBM) Security today announced an initiative to help address the projected 1.8 million-person cybersecurity worker shortage through programs and partnerships that promote a “new collar” cybersecurity workforce strategy.

As part of this initiative, IBM is sponsoring alternative education models such as Hacker Highschool and Pathways in Technology Early College High School (P-TECH), while defining new workforce approaches to reach a broader pipeline of employees based on skills, experience and aptitudes as opposed to traditional hiring models which focus on degrees alone. In fact, nearly 20 percent of IBM Security professionals hired in the U.S. since 2015 fall into this category of “new collar” employees.

To help overcome the cybersecurity talent shortage and build the skills needed for the modern security workforce, IBM Security is investing in several initiatives including:

  • New collaboration with the Hacker Highschool project, an open cybersecurity training program for teens and young adults.
  • Continued investment in skills-based education, training & recruitment, including vocational training, coding camps, professional certification programs and innovative public/private education models like P-TECH (which IBM pioneered in 2011).
  • Outlining a strategic workforce approach for the security industry with practical steps that all organizations can take to rethink their own cybersecurity talent models, via a new industry whitepaper from IBM Institute for Business Value.

“The cybercrime landscape is evolving rapidly, yet many organizations are still approaching their cybersecurity education and hiring in the same way they were 20 years ago,” said Marc van Zadelhoff, General Manager of IBM Security. “The truth is that many of the critical cybersecurity roles we need to fill don’t require a traditional four-year technical degree. Industry leaders need to take an active part in resolving the talent issues we’re facing, by investing in new models and extending the pipeline to focus on hands-on skills and experience over degrees alone.”

Rethinking Cybersecurity Training & Education: Hacker Highschool & P-TECH

More than half of security hiring managers say that practical, hands-on experience is the most important qualification for a cybersecurity candidate.2

Yet the majority of students are not given the opportunity to learn these security skills in a traditional classroom setting, particularly at a high school level. In fact, two out of three high schoolers say the idea of a career in cybersecurity had never been mentioned to them by a teacher, guidance or career counselor.3

IBM Security is investing in alternative education models that focus on bringing cybersecurity exposure and skills to students at a younger age. This includes a new initiative with ISECOM, a non-profit organization which provides Hacker Highschool, open cybersecurity courses designed specifically for teenagers to develop the critical thinking and hands-on, technical skills needed for today’s security professionals.

As part of this collaboration, IBM will provide sponsorship, expert guidance and IBM Security tools for a new Hacker Highschool lesson focused on the skills needed for an entry-level security operation center (SOC) analyst – a position that is in particular demand.

Students completing the Hacker Highschool curriculum will also have the opportunity for hands-on practice with IBM Security QRadar software, a deep security analytics technology used in thousands of security operation centers around the globe to help monitor malicious activity and detect attacks.

“A critical factor in the cybersecurity workforce challenge is the huge gap that exists in relevant security education resources at a high school level. The fact is that most schools don’t have teachers equipped on this subject, or appropriate course materials available,” said Pete Herzog, co-founder of ISECOM. “With Hacker Highschool we make the courses so students can teach themselves, with an emphasis on thinking like a hacker to develop deep technical security skills, along with creativity, resourcefulness and a sense of moral responsibility to keep them on track.”

IBM is also helping students gain cybersecurity skills and training through its continued investment in the P-TECH education model, which connects high school, college and the business world to prepare students for technology jobs of the future, including cybersecurity. Through P-TECH, public high school students can earn both a high school diploma and an industry-recognized two-year postsecondary degree at no cost to them or their families, while working with industry partners like IBM on skills mapping, mentorship, workplace experiences and internships.

The P-TECH model has expanded to over 60 U.S. schools and 300 industry partners, including several new schools which are pioneering a cybersecurity-focused, IBM-sponsored degree program, such as Excelsior Academy in New York and P-TECH@Carver in Maryland. Hundreds of students are currently enrolled in these cybersecurity-focused P-TECH schools, and those who finish will earn an Associate of Applied Science (AAS) in Cybersecurity upon completion.

Redefining Hiring Tactics in Security – A “New Collar” Approach

While bringing more people with a broader set of talents into the cybersecurity workforce is critical, companies must also take a more strategic approach to how they recruit and hire talent, widening the aperture to accommodate all types of skills needed for the modern security workforce.

With the wide variety of cybersecurity roles that exist today, many of the core attributes and skills needed to succeed in this industry can be developed outside traditional four-year, university degree programs. Vocational schools, associate degree programs, military veterans programs, coding camps and skills-based certifications are all great sources of cybersecurity talent which are often overlooked in traditional hiring and recruitment programs.

A growing number of positions in cybersecurity – and the technology industry as whole – shouldn’t be defined as “blue collar” or “white collar,” but rather as “new collar” roles that prioritize capabilities and skills over degrees.

As a company with over 8,000 cybersecurity-focused professionals, IBM is helping lead the way by incorporating a “new collar” hiring approach into its own security business. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 IBM Security employees hired since 2015 fall into this “new collar” category.

To help organizations address their own security hiring challenges, IBM has outlined several steps companies can consider to get started with their own strategic talent approach, such as:

  • Redefine your hiring models; identify the attributes and skills needed for various positions and those that can be filled by non-traditional candidates. Don’t focus solely on degrees as prerequisites.
  • Expand where you recruit; don’t limit yourself to the select set of universities that you have always focused on; expand to community colleges, P-TECH schools and other educational programs like professional certifications.
  • Create new partnerships in your region – with government organizations, educational institutions and programs, and other groups.
  • Provide a robust support program for new hires – such as mentorships, rotational assignments, shadowing and other opportunities for new cybersecurity hires to gain experience and learn. Additionally, help employees build and refine skills with classes, certifications, and conferences. Cybersecurity is a highly dynamic field, which requires a constant refreshing of skills.

To see the full whitepaper outlining tips for companies looking to expand to a “new collar” security approach, visit: To get the latest insights on how IBM is helping security leaders tackle tough risk and security challenges, visit:

About IBM Security

IBM Security offers one of the most advanced and integrated portfolios of enterprise security products and services. The portfolio, supported by world-renowned IBM X-Force® research, enables organizations to effectively manage risk and defend against emerging threats. IBM operates one of the world’s broadest security research, development and delivery organizations, monitors 35 billion security events per day in more than 130 countries, and holds more than 3,000 security patents. For more information, please visit, follow @IBMSecurity on Twitter or visit the IBM Security Intelligence blog.


The latest in curated technology related news collected from many of the leading news distribution, industry research and technology vendor firms on the planet.

Here you will find recent news sources from companies such as Reuters, Marketwired, IDC, Gartner or directly from cloud vendors such as Google, Microsoft or Amazon.


RSA Conference: FUD-free or filled?

RSA Conference: FUD-free or filled?

IoT 15 Billion Units By 2021 At the annual RSA conference, there were plenty of discussions and presentations on the ...
The Unintended – and Intended – Consequences of Cloud Data Sovereignty

The Unintended – and Intended – Consequences of Cloud Data Sovereignty

Cloud Data Sovereignty It seems that everything has unintended consequences – whether positive or negative. Intended consequences are those that ...
Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Using Private Cloud Architecture For Multi-Tier Applications

Private Cloud Architecture These days, Multi-Tier Applications are the norm. From SharePoint’s front-end/back-end configuration, to LAMP-based websites using multiple servers to handle ...
5 Simple Tips to Make Strong and Robust Business Continuity Plans

5 Simple Tips to Make Strong and Robust Business Continuity Plans

Business Continuity Plans Today’s organizations need comprehensive and robust business continuity planning for swift and effective action in case of ...
open source cloud

Expect Open Source Security to Become a Major Focus in 2017

Open Source Security There is no doubt about it: We are living in the middle of the Digital Age. But ...
Why Are Hackers So Interested In Your Medical Data?

Why Are Hackers So Interested In Your Medical Data?

The Interest In Medical Data The term “hackers” might bring to mind visions of dark basements, powerful computers and people ...
Why Do Television Companies Need A Digital Transformation

Why Do Television Companies Need A Digital Transformation

Cloud TV Over just a few years, the world of television production, distribution, and consumption has changed dramatically. In the ...
Why a White Label Cloud for Emerging Economies

Why a White Label Cloud for Emerging Economies

White Label Cloud  Given our starting point, one of the inquiries we field every now and then is: ‘why did ...


OVH Announces New Hosted Private Cloud Offerings for US Market

OVH Announces New Hosted Private Cloud Offerings for US Market

OVH delivers next-generation services for hosted private cloud, disaster recovery, and hybridity leveraging industry-leading solutions RESTON, VA--(Marketwired - Nov 20, ...
HPE CEO Whitman's surprise exit stumps Wall Street

HPE CEO Whitman’s surprise exit stumps Wall Street

(Reuters) - Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co (HPE.N) fell 6 percent on Wednesday after Chief Executive Officer Meg Whitman’s ...
Cloud Security Alliance Issues New Code of Conduct for GDPR Compliance

Cloud Security Alliance Issues New Code of Conduct for GDPR Compliance

EDINBURGH, Scotland, Nov. 21, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Cloud Security Alliance (CSA), the world's leading organization dedicated to defining and raising awareness of best practices ...


Viewing Digital Payments as a Boulevard of Commerce

Viewing Digital Payments as a Boulevard of Commerce

Digital Payments A boulevard is a wide street that runs in two directions and usually has a median in the ...
Visual Data Analytics Helps To Illustrate The Big Picture

Visual Data Analytics Helps To Illustrate The Big Picture

Visual Data Analytics We’re consistently hearing how valuable data is today, how important it is to the success of every ...
AT&T Pinpoints 4 Key Elements To Achieving Security With The Internet of Things

AT&T Pinpoints 4 Key Elements To Achieving Security With The Internet of Things

Internet of Things Security The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly becoming a part of many of our business processes, ...