My name is Dominique Owens and I am originally from Baltimore, MD. I have over 10 years of experience working in the IT industry supporting work in operations, technical support, test engineering, and cybersecurity. I have worked in both commercial and public sector industries. I currently work as an Engagement Lead for a security and privacy review team with my current employer, Grant Thornton.
Currently, there are numerous companies that are facing a deficit in acquiring cybersecurity talent. Not only is this based on the lack of technical capability of most professionals, but also the unrealistic expectations of technical companies to recruit the perfect candidate having 10 years of experience in addition to 5 certifications while under the age of 40. While recruiters are attempting to fulfill the wish list of cybersecurity executives and team leads by specifically looking for this “unicorn” of a professional, they fail to realize that not every professional with technical experience is the best choice. As a manager of a security and privacy review team, I have learned that though many young professionals do not have the technical background, they have enough soft skills to make them not only successful but competitive in the cybersecurity industry. While many of them have bachelor’s and master’s degrees ranging from environmental science, international studies, and business continuity, their soft skills in verbal and written communication, organization, and attention to detail have allowed them to obtain occupations such as cybersecurity analysts and engineers. One of my associate professionals used her soft skills to obtain a position as a team lead for 1 of 3 cybersecurity teams supported by several directors. Her story is both encouraging and inspiring for professionals looking to break into the cybersecurity arena without technical experience.
Dominique Owens is a Plenary Session Speaker at ICSIC 2019.
Topic: Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff: The Importance of using Soft Skills in the Hiring of Today’s Cybersecurity Workforce.