A coalition of UK business, academic and public sector organisations has announced a competition designed to find the cream of the security professional crop.
The Cyber Security Challenge UK will involve security professionals completing a series of tasks, details of which have not yet been released.
Representatives from a range of organisations, including the Metropolitan Police, the Cabinet Office, the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers and the University of London, are working on three starter competitions which will cover areas such as network defence, forensics, and identifying security weaknesses in web site code.
Entrants who complete this first round will be expected to complete a range of face-to-face challenges.
Each competition is open to anyone, but some will be specifically targeted at graduates, the representatives explained, as a survey had found a growing skills gap in the cyber security sector.
"We have to improve the quality and quantity of talented people entering the profession to accommodate escalating requirements," said Judy Baker, director of Cyber Security Challenge UK.
"The current system is not delivering enough skilled professionals to meet the cyber security challenges we face.
She added that the competitions will aim to "excite, inspire and stimulate fresh interest" in a career in cyber security.
A survey of senior information security professionals found that 90 per cent have difficulty filling security roles, and just under two-thirds believe that the situation will only worsen as the security threat landscape grows.
Jobs expected to be in the biggest demand include strategy/policy guidance, risk management, and threat management/incident response.
"Our members need excellent recruits to deal with the current cyber security threats in the UK," said Ian Glover, president of the Council of Registered Ethical Security Testers.
"We are putting our own weight behind the Cyber Security Challenge UK, and exploring a route whereby passing some challenges could be recognised as a benchmark of cyber security capability."
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