The lack of qualified IT security talent remains a prevalent issue for businesses around the world, with 33% of companies last year admitting that improving their in house security expertise is among the top three priorities of their IT security investment, and 48% saying they experience talent shortage. 
Kaspersky Lab has teamed up with partners such as Dassault Systems, PwC and Schlumberger to create a talent discovery programme, Cybersecurity for the Next Generation. The companies are targeting students and young specialists, with and without a security background, and have put up a $10 000 grant for the winner.

The programme invites participants to tackle real tasks, provided by all involved partners, and which, if successful, may actually be implemented in business. PwC, for example, is looking for a solution to automatically aggregate and analyse security relevant news on social media. Schlumberger is looking for a concept to secure data storage in the Schlumberger private cloud.

Some of the scenarios are not very technical. Kaspersky Lab is, for example, looking for two gamified approaches to explaining and teaching security in healthcare, banks and retail.

“IT security has become a central element of our digital lives. But it is not necessarily a topic that attracts a huge amount of talent — although people working in the industry can expect secure, highly-paid and challenging jobs. With this program we want to demonstrate how interesting and diverse the field is and uncover talent that has so far been hidden,” says Riaan Badenhorst, GM Kaspersky Lab Africa.

“Experts are needed across all industries and we are proud of the pool of experts we have. But we also believe that it is part of our mission to find more talent and let businesses benefit from a broader pool of experts.”

Contestants can participate in groups of up to three and hand in their applications before 25 October at A jury will then choose finalists to be invited to the contest finals, held in Prague on 5 and 6 December.

The winner of the contest will receive a grant of $10 000, the second place will have the opportunity to go to the Kaspersky Security Analyst Summit, and the third-place winner will be sent to a professional conference on information security. In addition, there are special prizes from the contest’s partners — including internships, gadgets and other useful gifts.

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