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Cyber skills: don't just take, give

Career development and progression

02:30 Thursday, 26 August 2021

UK Cyber Security Council

The Covid-19 lockdown saw a massive stampede toward online presentations. Training courses, conferences, short talks... all those events that we would normally travel to see were now available with a few clicks and with a zero-mile journey.

We’re now starting to see physical industry events reappear in volume. We can be confident, though, that electronic events will continue – not quite in the volumes that we’ve seen through lockdown, but certainly significantly more than pre-Covid. And this provides us all with an opportunity to give something back.

How? Simple: the organisers of talks, webinars and the like are in the market for speakers. If you've been watching online talks, interviews, presentations and panels since the spring of 2020, why not ask yourself: could I contribute? Do I have some knowledge or experience that would be of interest and/or benefit to the types of audience that are on those online events I’ve been watching?

The answer is almost certainly yes. Even if you don’t have vast knowledge in a particular area, you may have an unusual or interesting story to tell about something that happened. What you have to offer might even be a more general skill, or perhaps the application of soft skills, rather than being specifically focused on the technicalities of cyber security. These are equally valuable to share with an audience.

Now, it’s common to be nervous about one’s skills in presenting – the stereotype of an introverted security geek is often a little unfair but is similarly pretty accurate in many cases. The good news is that there are so many different formats to online events that there will almost certainly be one that suits your style and level of worry: there is the potential to start as, say, one of a dozen or so people on a round-table session and then become more ambitious over time as you get used to it.

It’s important that we do what we can to share our skills and experiences, though. The people to whom we’re speaking will gain from what we have to say, and we will at the very least some soft skills around presenting and public speaking.

Everyone’s a winner: but only if we take – or make – the time to make it happen, and we do something about it.