We are living in an era of an increasingly connected economy and a business landscape that constantly has to keep pace for organizations to remain relevant and competitive. Thanks in part to the expansion of the Internet of Everything (IoE) (and the millions of connective touch points it supports), heightened cyber security needs, emerging technologies like SD WANs and the growth of STEM-based jobs, people with technical “know-how” are in extremely high-demand.

Despite this need for tech talent, at current rates, the number of available technical-related positions in the future will far outweigh the number individuals qualified enough to fulfill them.

As a result, in the last couple of years, the headlines have become increasingly intense and a critical question is echoing through the halls of technology C-suites.

Where is all of the tech talent?

Just last year, an ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) report found:

  • 30 percent of organizations said the networking skills of their InfoSec staff was inadequate in some, most or all cases
  • 38 percent of organizations say that the ability of the security staff to keep up with network security changes is inadequate in some, most, or all cases
  • 37 percent of organizations say that the ability of the security staff to keep up with the threat landscape is inadequate in some, most, or all cases.

Because the tech talent shortage has become a global issue – stretching from Australia to Brazil – it will take global efforts and agencies to close the gaps. And in 2014, the United Nations launched an ambitious effort that could make an enormous difference for the future of our industry. They have declared July 15 World Youth Skills Day. It spotlights the state of unemployed and underemployed youth in developing nations, while focusing attention and putting action behind preparing them for tomorrow’s career and life decisions.

During our next #CiscoChat on Wednesday, July 15, 10-11a.m. PST, we’ll celebrate World Youth Skills Day and share thoughts on how we can develop, from a young age, the passion and interests of individuals who can fill these tech roles.

For many years, Cisco has worked to help young people from every corner of the world develop IT and STEM field-related skills needed to join the workforce, establish careers and completely alter the course of their lives. With 9,000 global locations, the Cisco Networking Academy career-building curriculum has helped more than 5.5 million people join the global workforce since 1997. And unique competitions like NetRiders and CyberPatriot have been crucial in providing hands-on-experience in fast-paced environments that promote their critical-thinking skills – invaluable when it comes to entering the workforce in the “real world.” Through these extensive education efforts, students have empowered themselves to be global problem-solvers and emerging entrepreneurs.

With recognition of this looming shortage of tech talent – and that young people will be at the forefront of solving this problem – more attention and resources are being designated to proper preparation.

But there is still work to be done.

During our #CiscoChat, Cisco Networking Academy will be joined by Harbrinder Kang, vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility. Several representatives from Cisco’s partners will be a part of the panel as well; Christina Grossman of Digital Divide Data; Bernie Skoch of CyberPatriot; and Rich Weeks of NDG.

These individuals and organizations recognize the critical role private companies and mentoring programs play in igniting curiosity about our industry. And we want you to lend your voice to the global conversation about the importance of education and training of our future colleagues.

Join and follow the conversation on Wednesday, July 15, 10-11am PST using hashtag #CiscoChat.


Eric Chu

Social and Digital Content Manger