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The Tech Skills Gap: Why it’s an Executive-level Problem and How to Address It

The truth is we’re experiencing a large gap when it comes to hiring tech talent in the United States. Our government has found that 500,000 jobs are posted every 90 days but far fewer people are qualified to fill them. Code.org estimates that by 2020, there will be 1 million more tech job than applicants who can fill them.  

 

Now, companies, universities and congress are coming together to address this issue.

 

Infoblox had an unique opportunity this summer to partner with Congressman Derek Kilmer for the Chance in Tech Act which encourages public-private funding for apprenticeship programs. While this is one of the successful ways that will help bring more technical talent into companies, there are other immediate actions organizations can take to bring top talent into their organization.

 

Invest outside of Silicon Valley

When Infoblox acquired IID, a threat intelligence company located in Tacoma Washington, we consequently expanded Infoblox’s presence to the Pacific Northwest. We quickly realized there is a wealth of exceptional talent in the greater Tacoma area.

 

In February 2017 we decided to continue investing in the Tacoma area, supporting our Infoblox Tacoma office as a center for technology excellence. It’s proximity to institutes of higher education, military bases, and other establish tech companies make it desirable to attract talent.

 

Additionally locations like Tacoma, where housing prices (and office space) are more affordable and traffic manageable, created an opportunity for companies like us to discover talent outside of Silicon Valley.

 

Partner with local universities

Another great benefit we gained from expanding our presence in the Tacoma area, is the proximity to University of Washington, Tacoma, a well regarded university with one of the few cybersecurity programs.

 

By building a relationship with the university, we have been able to invest in an intern program that works alongside students interested in a career in cybersecurity. Interns receive mentorship from veteran employees and learn skills that are often not taught in the classroom. As a result, we’ve been able to hire students full time post graduation creating a larger network and more options when it comes to hiring cybersecurity talent.

 

Establish a strong culture

Employees are drawn to organizations where they feel supported, welcome and encouraged to grow their careers. At Infoblox we take our company culture very seriously and look to hire employees who embody our core values. We refer to this as our no-jerks policy

 

A no-jerks policy is much more than hiring nice people. It involves fostering a culture of transparency where employees feel empowered to challenge themselves and continue to learn. As a result we’ve been able to hire people for personality fit as well.

 

The skills gap remains a struggle, but companies, universities and congress working to address it. In collaboration we can help train the future technology workforce and close the tech employment gap.

 

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