Select Page

By: Jaclyn Sanchez, JRI Cybersecurity

As a job seeker, if you are like me and many of my fellow cybersecurity leaders, you are met with conflicting expectations and requirements when searching for cybersecurity leadership roles. Many job seekers look for their ideal response and ideas of a Hands-on Technical Leader with 20-30 years of experience, the ability to lead large teams in times of transition, and strategic growth…

Let’s break down Cybersecurity and Leadership. Cybersecurity can encompass many things, and Leadership can also mean many things to many people. Overall, the key aspects of cybersecurity are to maintain confidentiality, integrity, and availability. Yes, we can go into much more detail about the CIA, but for this purpose, we will keep it simple. As for Leadership, we can sum it up as the behaviors and attributes displayed by people who guide, influence, and inspire others to achieve common goals or objectives.

So, at first glance, those qualifications seem simple enough. Having experience in cybersecurity and leadership sounds great like a nice, pretty package all wrapped up. So let’s take our package and go on the hunt for a Cybersecurity Leader or find a role as one.
Well, let’s double-click into these requests;

“Hands-on Technical Leader” – Looking for a hands-on technology leader… translates into an expert in everything technology and can do the work. Some are generalists, some are SMEs, and some are leaders… Most of the time, some are all three. If you have had any previous experience in a technology role, you have led a project, had to be the SME, had to understand all the technology tools associated, and have completed some or all the work. “20-30 years’ experience” – Yes, this magical amount of time that sounds like it should equal knowledge of all things. My favorite misconception about cybersecurity or even technology is that long years of experience are necessary. We all know that cybersecurity is rapidly evolving and dynamic. It requires constant learning and adaptation. To all you job seekers and employers out there, long years of experience are not always necessary for cybersecurity, as this field is constantly changing and requires lifelong learning. What matters more is one’s passion, curiosity, and willingness to learn new skills and face new challenges. Cybersecurity is a diverse and inclusive profession that welcomes people from different walks of life who share a common goal of protecting the digital world.
“Ability to lead large teams in times of transition and Strategic growth…” or something like that. FYI, Cybersecurity is not only a technical skill but also a cross-cutting competency that can be applied to various disciplines. Therefore, most cybersecurity professionals have diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and experiences that bring valuable insights and solutions to many organizations’ challenges. The skills that are essential for cybersecurity are problem-solving, critical thinking, communication, and collaboration and are not necessarily tied to traditional leadership roles.

In conclusion, there is no perfect formula for the right cybersecurity leader. Just getting the chance to get in front of the right person to demonstrate your skills is hard enough. Even then, they might not have any clue what you are talking about. If you find yourself on the hunt or looking to hire for a cybersecurity leader role, just remember there is no perfect package. You will always be looking to leverage and implement emerging technologies and trends in cybersecurity and be encouraging yourself and others on an endless mission of continuous research and innovation. A true cybersecurity leader will be dedicated, passionate, and intentional, set the course to align with the strategic and long-term goals, and collaborate with all stakeholders to protect the CIA while serving and supporting the business mission.