In U.S. football, the terms “next man up” and “do your job” are often used as call to action mantras to spur a unified approach to consistency and sustained performance. The (ISC)² 2015 Global Information Security Workforce Study (GISWS) cites that out of the nearly 14,000 respondents, only six percent are under the age of 30. Coupled with the projected 1.5 million qualified “next person up” deficit between now and 2020, we have a global challenge to address the currently stretched thin workforce by ensuring future capabilities within the profession. As the current aging workforce begins to retire, we also need to address the next wave of professionals required to take their places. The 2015 GISWS found the average age of the respondent pool to be 42 years old.
In 2015, I had the privilege of working for Professor Corey Schou, chairperson of our Board of Directors, a longstanding member of the board and an (ISC)² founder. The chair and the CEO frequently meet at various events around the world, and these opportunities were great for observing and learning from Corey, while also sharing perspectives. Never short on intellect or wit (confirmed by his lovely wife Sue), Corey’s commitment to our profession was always at the forefront of the conversation. Even after 14-hour days or similar length flights that can often wear a person down, Corey’s commitment to advancing the profession has never wavered since he led the formation of (ISC)² back in 1989. That type of commitment can be infectious. While he never said it directly, I received his implied topic statement loud and clear: “Now David, don’t go messing this up.” If you come to know Corey, the last thing you want to do is let him down.
The list of Corey’s accomplishments is too long to attempt to cover in this blog. However, he led the 2015 Board of Directors that updated our bylaws such that he was required to roll off of the board as of December 31, 2015. At the 2015 (ISC)² Security Congress EMEA in Munich, Germany, Corey touched on this in his keynote speech. He eloquently shared his rationale for the change, while making the point that mentors should be behind the scenes encouraging the next wave of professionals. He has consistently given his students the limelight over the years. Corey shared with the crowd his view that he fully supported the bylaw changes, because he understands the importance of “new blood with fresh ideas” joining the board. This was just another example of his selfless approach to making a positive difference.
So it’s with great respect and admiration that I thank Corey for all that he has done for (ISC)² and our profession. I know he will continue to contribute as a volunteer and through his day job as an academic developing highly-sought-after graduates. As we move forward in 2016, I ask (ISC)² members to take a moment to reflect on Corey’s many contributions. Importantly, there are a lot of things he does with ease and statesmanship that we can all try to emulate. What can each of us do to help develop the next wave of talent within our profession in selfless ways that promote “the next people up” concept? Of course doing your job is part of it, but we must also strive to do our jobs even better through our commitment to life-long learning. Let’s also remember when considering the “next person up” that women only represent 10 percent of our global workforce, and there are other underrepresented minority groups within our profession that can help contribute to the solution to our workforce challenges. Corey has made a career of leading by example in his approach to developing “the next person up.” The profession will remain well served if more of us follow his example and help to preserve his legacy.
-David Shearer, CEO, (ISC)²