The Queue (cybersecurity edition): how mentoring gets the queue of cybersecurity talent moving to reduce your organisations’ risk

By Michala Liavaag

Elevator Pitch

Cybersecurity’s like an orchestra; missing players affect the harmony. When we pair novices fresh from music academy with professional musicians, they fill the sound of silence with harmony and create a masterpiece. Join the concert!


You’ve seen cyber-attacks on the news and ask yourself, “if big companies can’t protect data, how can we?” You’re in luck; criminals are ruthlessly efficient when it comes to their bottom line. Do a little security well, and you’ll move your organisation further back in the queue.

Great, so now what? Someone needs to be responsible for cyber security – but who?

You’re told there’s a cybersecurity skills shortage; yet there’s a queue of aspiring cybersecurity professionals from school leavers to apprentices, graduates to career changers – all struggling to secure jobs due to their lack of experience.

The answer? Mentoring.

Key takeaways: Define the challenge - the ‘cybersecurity skills gap’ is a ‘double experience gap’. Debate perspectives – the job applicant, the hiring manager, and the board. Determine solutions – implement risk-reducing controls, mentoring as a security control. Deliver your services – your organisation doesn’t have to stall whilst waiting for that elusive cybersecurity unicorn 🦄


I started mentoring others a few years ago and have an excellent track record of helping people through their challenge of getting their foot in the door. I also have experience of working with people fresh from university with their Masters degrees. Typically they come with a theory of how cybersecurity should work and get a rude awakening when they start a job to find that they know very little. I’ve trained such people up to be pragmatic professionals that enable an organisation to deliver its services.

Technical requirements: I can deliver this talk with or without slides.