We Need To Address The Lack of Cyber Skills In The Tech World, Here’s Why

Maciej Dziergwa, CEO at STX Next, explores…

In recent years, businesses in almost every industry have increased their technology usage to deal with the challenges of the pandemic. The demand for remote access to essential work tools – such as Zoom, Teams or Slack – and enhanced online experiences in the consumer world shows no sign of slowing.

As such, there is now a vastly increased demand for professionals with technical capabilities in areas such as cybersecurity and coding. At present, this demand isn’t being met: in STX Next’s annual survey of 500 CTOs across Europe, 41% of tech leaders reported hiring as their biggest challenge.

There are many ways in which leaders can tackle this skills shortage and identify the best talent to bring success.

The importance of soft skills

In industries such as technology or cybersecurity, having a high level of specific, technical expertise has always been a given. To land a role in this field, you need skills such as coding, and you need to be able to execute them well.

However, dig a little deeper and the vital importance of soft skills comes to the fore. When asked about the most important factors to consider when hiring, 81% of tech leaders highlighted ‘culture fit’ as high on their list of search criteria. Similarly, 83% of CTOs stressed the importance of feedback from peers on soft skills when evaluating performance of existing employees. The data also reveals that CTOs believe a good culture fit is more than twice as important as the number of years of experience a potential new team member has.

With this in mind, the traditional notion of a cyber expert as someone who just monitors for threats and writes code to mitigate these threats is fading, and soft skills are more in demand than ever. Modern developers should have a much better understanding of the wider goals of the business and have the skills necessary to form cohesive and productive teams, be effective communicators and should they wish to do so, take on leadership roles in the future.


Remote working and team relationships

Early in the pandemic, most companies did an excellent job of switching to remote working and keeping businesses going. In fact, 68% of CTOs report that an increase in remote working did not harm team relationships, and 18% even said that remote working had improved these relationships considerably. The results clearly show that it is possible to foster strong relationships despite physical distance between teams.

Now adept at navigating its most prominent challenges, managers should be capitalising on the increasingly remote-based nature of work and tapping into a new pool of talent.

Smarter recruitment

To close this skills gap, the onus is on organisations to expand their recruitment drives and take steps to properly incentivise prospective employees, especially those recently graduated, to take up positions in cybersecurity and software development.

As part of this, leaders shouldn’t be afraid to expand the net and engage with potential employees who are based abroad, especially if these candidates have the language skills needed to succeed in an international role.