16 Feb Robert Herjavec Speaks Cybersecurity To High School Students, Parents, and Teachers
“If you know cybersecurity, then you have a job for life”
– Steve Morgan, Editor-in-Chief
Northport, N.Y. — Feb. 16, 2019
Robert Herjavec filmed an 8-minute podcast video interview with Cybercrime Magazine in order to help spread the word about cybersecurity to the world’s future cyber fighters.
“I’m Batman,” says Herjavec, emphatically, when asked to explain the feeling that he has about being a cybersecurity warrior.
For those of you who don’t know it, Herjavec, a Shark on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning hit show, Shark Tank, is CEO of his namesake $300 million cybersecurity company, Herjavec Group, with offices in the U.S., U.K., and Canada.
What is it about the Batman metaphor that has us thinking on it for the past six months? And why haven’t we been able to put it into words?
An Unexpected Surprise
Part of our delay in writing this editorial boiled down to grappling for more context on what we filmed. The podcast was completely unplanned. No script. No questions. No reason for it. We were in New Jersey to film a full-length TV style interview with Herjavec on cybercrime. At the conclusion of that set, we asked him, impromptu, if he’d like to film a short podcast about cybersecurity careers. He replied that he always loved radio — and Yes! Let’s do it.
Our crew strolled over to a dimly lit spot in the corner of a large banquet hall room, with street light shining in from two huge uncovered windows. We set up a makeshift studio by plopping down our mics and mixing board on a short table — and planted a single camera without time to test. Herjavec sat down across from our host, Georgia Reid, their faces illuminated. Something special was about to happen. They threw on the headphones and within minutes Herjavec was completely out of character — as Batman.
When Herjavec tells kids that he’s Batman — he means to say that what he does is good, and a little bit heroic. Cyber fighters help businesses and society, they help make the world a better place. It’s the same reason that people become doctors, lawyers, police officers, and firemen.
STEM Skills and Cybersecurity
Cybersecurity didn’t come easy to Herjavec. In fact, he claims that if you put a math equation on the board, he starts crying like a little child. Our host, like so many students undoubtedly will, concurs — and she shares the fears and tears when it comes to math. Even still, Herjavec describes himself as being incredibly technical. A widely held misnomer is that you have to be a math whiz to understand cyber. But that’s not the case for a myriad of positions in the field. STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills however, are essential for coding jobs.
Herjavec believes that the cybersecurity community needs to do a better job of attracting more women, minorities, and young people. He says that our field is technical, but it’s not insurmountable. And he’s right.
“There are so many resources and opportunities for people who are interested in pursuing this hot career,” says Reid, a former New York City high school English teacher. “Cybersecurity is becoming more diverse every day, and we need more cybercrime fighters than ever before. Take initiative, look up some local classes, online tutorials, and mentors on social media. You can be confident that if you work hard and get the necessary training, you will have a great career for a long time. Put one foot in front of the other — the time will go by whether you’re learning this or not.”
Reid is enhancing her own command of cyber principles and technology after enrolling into online classes offered by Cybrary, a free online video learning platform which specializes in cybersecurity courseware and exams.
Cybersecurity Ventures predicts that there will be 3.5 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs by 2021, up from 1 million openings in 2014. The cybersecurity unemployment rate has been zero percent since 2016.
“If you know cybersecurity, you have a job for life,” says Herjavec. “What other industry can you say that about?” That summarizes the economic side of the coin, which addresses what many parents want to know. But there’s still the image to deal with, the other side of the coin which the kids are more concerned with.
Alas, the Batman commentary. “Teachers tell us kids watch Shark Tank because they think it’s cool to be in business,” says Herjavec. “Ten years ago it wasn’t cool. We need that same type of PR around cybersecurity. It’s (cyber) a little heroic. We’re fighting bad guys. The online world is the Wild West and there is no sheriff.”
Herjavec wants kids to know that the cybersecurity field pays well, provides incredible job security, and people will respect you for being a part of it. That means a lot coming from the mouth of a millionaire entrepreneur, popular TV personality, and most importantly — a cybersecurity leader. Without planning it, and with our push, Herjavec is in effect the very PR that he says our field so desperately needs.
Spreading the Word
Carmen Marsh, CEO at Inteligenca, a boutique management consulting firm in Roseville, Calif., delivered a keynote presentation on Sept. 25, 2018, at Sacramento State University to over 500 high school students. Her presentation included the 8-minute video interview with Herjavec, which was also uploaded to the university online library where several thousand students have access to watch it.
“I think the video was great because it was short and engaging and inspiring to high schoolers,” says Marsh. “I’m glad that I included it, because teenagers don’t have the same attention span as we do, and my talking could become boring to them after a while — so I kept it short (I also used the characters from the show 100 for that purpose as well … to keep it visual and relatable).”
Marsh’s firm is a member of The Global City Teams Challenge (GCTC) program, a collaborative platform for the development of smart cities and communities, led by National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a bureau of U.S. Department of Commerce. She is also an advocate for women in cybersecurity — and creator of the 100 Women in 100 Days Cybersecurity Certification — which is generating momentum for gender equality in our field.
Cybercrime Magazine is offering up, and recommending, the 8-minute podcast video interview that we filmed with Herjavec to every high student, parent, and teacher globally. While that may seem like an overly ambitious goal, it’s what we need to aim for so that no child is left behind when it comes to cybersecurity — which is one of the fastest growing industries.
There is a program for every high school student, regardless of their background and academic achievement. Cybersecurity courseware is now available in free online training platforms, vocational schools, community colleges, and universities offering bachelor’s degrees. For the most ambitious students, there are many master’s degree programs in cybersecurity to choose from.
Herjavec says that cybersecurity is possible for anyone interested in pursuing a career in our field — and it’s worth the journey.
– Steve Morgan is founder and Editor-in-Chief at Cybersecurity Ventures.
The Cybercrime Magazine 8-minute podcast video interview with Robert Herjavec can be found here. It is published on YouTube with Share turned On. You have permissions to take the embed code, found below, and paste it onto your website or other media. Or you can simply point people to watch the video at its YouTube location.
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Robert Herjavec Bio
Robert Herjavec is one of North America’s most recognizable business leaders. Born in Eastern Europe, he arrived to North America on a boat with his parents after escaping Communism in the former Yugoslavia. From delivering newspapers, and waiting tables, to launching a computer company from his basement, his drive to achieve has led him to the fulfillment of a better life for himself and his family.
A dynamic entrepreneur, Herjavec has built and sold several IT companies. In 2003 he founded Herjavec Group, and it quickly became one of North America’s fastest growing technology companies. Today, Herjavec Group is recognized as a global cybersecurity operations leader specializing in managed security services, compliance, identity services and incident response for enterprise-level organizations.
Herjavec is a leading investor on ABC’s Emmy Award-winning hit show, Shark Tank. Based on the international Dragons’ Den format, Shark Tank encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to pitch the “Sharks” for funding to start, grow or save their businesses. New episodes of Shark Tank air Sunday evenings on ABC.
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