The industry-wide shortage of trained cybersecurity personnel is not a new story, but Trustwave has begun to take a new approach to find not only trained cybersecurity staffers, but also those with no training or computer skills at all.

To develop a pool of new talent, three years ago Trustwave partnered with the Chicago Community College system — offering it equipment, staff and other investments to develop a cybersecurity curriculum focused on new students, those seeking a career change, and former military personnel. Chris Schueler, senior vice president, managed services at Trustwave, told SC Media at Black Hat that all that is asked of the school is that his company gets first crack at hiring the graduates. So far about 25 people have been brought into Trustwave in this manner.

Chris Schueler of Trustwave, Spider Labs, talks with SC Media’s Doug Olenick about new methods of finding qualified cybersecurity workers.

The program has been so successful that other schools have approached Trustwave to start similar programs.

Additionally, Schueler said Trustwave has altered its entire recruiting and hiring process to include those not interested in being nuts-and-bolts researchers and analysts, but who are interested in the industry and have a non-technical, but very useful skillset.

“We changed our recruiting practice, moving away from having a check box list that has to be filled and to instead have a conversation,” he said.

Trustwave looks for candidates who are naturally curious, enjoy challenges and demonstrate creativity. The company also seeks out those who show proficiency in basic science and math, as well as English and history, and have the ability to communicate well.

Perhaps one hire truly personifies Trustwave’s new outlook. Schueler said one member of his team was a former whitewater rafting tour guide who found himself out of work when a drought closed down the rafting trade. He then decided to shift gears and look for a new field of work. Trustwave and Schueler were attracted to this person’s creativeness and willingness to accept challenges and brought him on board.