I have updated the sheet based on a feedback I got so far.
One of the ideas that drove the development of this sheet was this question: who is a better hire: a forensicator with 15 years of bit-by-bit/primarily encase experience on the LE job, or talented young engineer who loves breaking stuff apart and already made a dent on the industry by discovering new forensic artifacts, writing tools, and presenting novelty ideas at conferences?
This is the reality of cyber (not only blue teams) for last 20+ years, and in my view it is one of the reason why we see everyone talking about ‘talent shortage’. This is because they look at the numbers, and characteristics of people already employed in the space. Not these that could be.
As such, the ‘talent shortage’ may not be an accurate statement if we change the scene. I’d argue that unlike other industries where primarily experience and academically obtained skills matter, the ‘canonical knowledge’, ‘adaptability’ and obviously the actual experience & academic achievements all play important role in diagnosing that ‘shortage’ and for individuals – their ‘hireability’.
And to add insult to the injury, given the fact that most blue team junior analysts are assumed to be almost clueless at first, the ‘jack of all trades’ approach dictates that with a proper mentorship, they can quickly conquer shallow waters of the knowledge necessary to progress to the next higher technical level. The path will quickly become more demanding then, but by the time they get to the next level, it may as well happen they will be already very well prepared. A.K.A. hiring juniors w/o experience should be done with doors open by default, and only closed if candidate makes it happen. Part of me doesn’t believe what I wrote, because I had mixed experience interviewing people for very junior positions, but maybe at that time I was still too biased(?).
The second reason that drove the development of this sheet was this: it tries to support manager’s work; junior analysts often want to know what is that they should learn to ‘climb’. Even if some engineer doesn’t particularly see a need for the ‘advancement’ of their career, and may see such matrix as counter-productive, even anti-climatic and bringing bad blood to the team, they will hopefully appreciate that an ability to self-asses themselves is a nice thing to have. Again, not important today, but may become important tomorrow. Like any other industry before, things will most likely slow down, stagnate, salaries will get adjusted, market saturated with new talent, competition will be harder, etc. etc. – luck favors prepared mind as they say.
And in terms of how to interpret the sheet. I guess we should see the ‘right wing’ on the sheet as a cumulative effort of many years of experience, and a result of many technical ‘lives’ of an individual coming together. The ‘left wing’ is the Jack of Few Trades, the ‘right wing’ is the Jack of Many. I would argue that working for various companies over the years (whether as an FTE, or a consultant) puts people with such a wide experience in a more favorable position here. This is indirectly supported by the process of promotions happening typically when people change the jobs, not on the jobs.
Last, but not least – the stuff that is already in there shows that the era of introvert nerds that just want, and are allowed to do ‘technical’ stuff only is no longer…
The file can be downloaded from here.