Tony Bryan doesn’t believe in the traditional notion of a cyber skills gap.

In fact, he thinks educational institutions and vocational training programs have done a pretty solid job of creating new legions of skilled and talented cyber workers. But what these up-and-coming candidates lack, he says, is actual on-the-job experience. And he believes it is for this reason that employers are not enthusiastic about hiring them, preferring instead to seek out more battle-tested job candidates.

Not everyone would agree with this theory. Indeed, plenty of experts say that smaller cities, rural areas and socioeconomically struggling neighborhoods genuinely suffer from a shortage of local cyber talent. However, that is not to say Bryan, the executive director of St. Louis-based apprenticeship organization CyberUp, doesn't also have a point: In addition to a cyber skills gap, perhaps there is also a cyber “experience” gap that results in less-seasoned infosec workers struggling to be welcomed into the fold.

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