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Podcast Season 5 Introduction – Cyber Workforce Development

April 28, 2020 | BY: Neosystems
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The current crisis has some people feeling uncertain while others are facing unemployment and underemployment. All the while, the cybersecurity and managed IT fields continue to have thousands of jobs open and not enough talent to fill them. NeoSystems wanted to provide the greater community with thought leaders and speakers to provide real-time advice on what they see from the market, the opportunity, and the skillsets needed now. Listen along as CEO, Michael Tinsley, and Recruiting Director, Chris Maslyn discuss what they are most excited about in this content series.

Transcript

Erin Keating:

Welcome to a special series that we’re working on here at NeoCast called Workforce Development. We’re really trying to focus in on the fact that we are at a unique time with COVID-19. A lot of people are either being laid off or they’re underemployed and regardless the industry is booming and we know that there is sometimes a dearth in talent, but there’s also some confusion around what the industry has available as far as positions, as well as certifications and training. So to kick us off, we wanted to first speak with Michael Tinsley, the CEO and co-founder of Neo Systems to just get his perspective on the podcast platform as an educational content platform as well as what he’s seeing in the industry from a talent acquisition perspective.

Erin Keating:

Then we’re also really excited to have the recruiting director for Neo Systems, Chris Maslin, to also talk from his perspective on talent acquisition. This is going to be a kickoff to a multitude of episodes we’re going to have with varying executives and talent personnel across the industry to help bring more information to you, our audience, on how to get better certified, what positions to look for, and what might be some of the myths in the industry around how you get started in cybersecurity and managed IT.

Erin Keating:

So without further ado, Michael, welcome. Thank you so much for coming onto the podcast. It’s a joy to have you.

Michael Tinsley:

Oh well thank you very much. I’m happy to be here. Yes, as you mentioned, I’m president and CEO of Neo Systems and I’m one of their two co-founders of the company dating back to 2003. We call ourselves a tech enabled business process outsourcer, or VPO. Really what that means is that we provide our customers with a suite of outsource services that are focused primarily on a company’s back office activities, accounting, HR, IT, and then cybersecurity. Then in addition to that, we also have a systems implementation and integration service and we help our clients with the implementation of their ERP systems and some other applications that they might be using to either run their back office or other areas of their company. That’s just to give you a little bit of background on me.

Michael Tinsley:

Thank you very much for having me today. I’m really happy to participate. We certainly do find ourselves in a pretty unique situation right now with the whole situation around COVID and the lockdown. I know a lot of people are out of work and they’re probably spending some time contemplating their next career move. It does give an opportunity for that at least. I’m hoping that by providing some background about what we’re finding in the market and what we’re looking for, that that might coincide with some of the folks out there so they can help maybe see a path for themselves.

Michael Tinsley:

In our case, even though it is sort of a crazy time, we’re still trying to find people because we’re hungry for talent in the areas, particularly in an accounting field and also the cybersecurity area. Both of those areas are growing I think from a market perspective and certainly from Neo’s perspective. So I’m happy to talk about that so that might be of assistance to anyone out there who is pondering what their next move might be.

Erin Keating:

That’s awesome. It’s always good to know and hopeful to know that there are plenty of industries that are actually still hiring out there and industries that actually pay well and have real advancement opportunities and simply it might just be a barrier of education of where could you go and learn some of those skills or how do you need to get into some of these companies. Speaking of town acquisition, Chris Maslin, so great to have you here as a recruiting director for Neo Systems. I’d love your perspective on A, your job at Neo Systems. How long have you been there and the career of talent acquisition period and recruiting and also what you’re excited about for this particular series.

Chris Maslyn:

All right. That’s a lot there. Thanks for having me here as well. My current role is actually almost a dual role here at Neo Systems. My primary function is really internal recruiting, supporting all of all the needs that Michael had mentioned, which includes all of our internal support as well as our IT, our cloud services our managed security services among others. The second role I have is supporting our external or client facing RPO, which is a recruitment process outsourcing. Whereas the majority of our clients are government contractors who have unique challenges, which when it comes to filling the scaling to fill needs in a cost efficient way.

Chris Maslyn:

As such, you can imagine we handle a lot with IT, and in this case, cyber we’re talking about today. So you had mentioned, what am I excited about? I’m like, well as you said, this is a unique time. Michael alluded to what we’re all going through now working remotely and when there is a challenge, it’s a yin and yang thing. When there’s danger there’s also an opportunity. We have a challenge at times finding talent and we know it’s out there. Our clients, particularly in IT and cyber, they have difficulty finding folks as well. So this, I thought, would be a good opportunity and thanks to all you guys for putting this together, that we could bring in some subject matter experts from the industry. We could talk through if you’re that young man or young lady trying to make a transition to move into the industry, how do you do that? What are some things you could be thinking and provide I guess an early stage mentor in the process.

Erin Keating:

One thing that comes to mind for me… We’re talking about the unique situation. I’m curious how both of you think about virtual workforces. Do you think that alongside this conversation that we’re going to have, that some of the conversation might actually focus on the fact that people could potentially apply for positions that aren’t in their geographic location? Do you think that that might soften up in the market or do you already see that a lot in the work that you do?

Michael Tinsley:

Most of the work that we do does lend itself to working remotely either from our location or from the client’s site. Again, that would make the positions that we’re looking for attractive, especially in today’s environment because it is something that lends itself to the situation that we’re in, to be quite frank. But to your point, it also makes it attractive where the geographic boundaries are removed as a result of that. There’s always going to be instances I think where face to face meetings with clients are going to be beneficial, at least after we get in the environment that we’re in today. But marketing in this environment has proven to practically the world I think, that there’s so much more possible in terms of working remotely as we all are now than what we ever thought possible. So I do think that going forward there’s probably going to be a much greater degree of leveraging technology and the remote workforce to provide the talent that Neo Systems and other companies are looking for as well. As Chris might’ve said earlier, even though it’s a challenging situation that we’re in, it’s pointing out some of the opportunities that we might not have realized were there previously.

Erin Keating:

What do you think, Chris? Do you feel like that might open up the pool of individuals that you might be looking at and candidates that you might be looking at? A lot of people try to flock to specific areas where they believe the jobs are and that is a double edged sword for recruiters and talent professionals because you’re dealing with the talent pool that exists where you are or you’re dealing with massive relocation deals and things like that. Does this somewhat make you excited for how far and wide you can look for your talent?

Chris Maslyn:

Well, I am excited about the change, the change that we’re all undergoing right now because as you might imagine, it opens up the world practically, or at least US for our domestic positions. That’s a big deal. Now having said that, I’m one of those people where… We talk to people all the time that say, “Oh, do you have remote jobs?” Oftentimes the answer is yes. I’m a fan of remote work, but I’m also a fan of seeing people in person. Zoom is wonderful, but it’s not the same as being in person, so I think when you can bounce that. So as far as candidates go and those looking to get into the field or just entertaining the prospect of work, I would tell them no matter what job you’re in, this is more about IT and cyber, that you should have a willing or I would encourage you to have a willingness to travel. Because you can be somewhere, ideally somewhere near an airport, but if you’re expecting to be a hundred percent remote, there are jobs like that, but you’re really limiting yourself, because sometimes it’s helpful whether you’re going to see a client, come in for meetings. The more flexible are the better opportunity you have.

Erin Keating:

And why not? As a former 75% of the time traveling, I’m saying, it’s not that bad guys. If you’ve got young ones at home too, guess what? It’s a night away.

Michael Tinsley:

Actually when you’ve been working at home the whole week and having a prospect of taking a business trip next week is kind of exciting.

Erin Keating:

Right. I think we’re all itching for that opportunity now. It’s the double edged sword of being able to work from home. Well, we’ve talked with quite a few different professionals in the industry that are going to be participating in these episodes coming up. Some of the topics are demystifying the security clearance process or government versus non-government opportunities. One organization in particular that’s actually a nonprofit organization was talking about a lack of entry level jobs. Amongst all the different topics that we could be talking about from either of you, what might excite you the most to hear from?

Michael Tinsley:

I think from our perspective, the biggest needs that we have right now are in the cybersecurity area as well as the accounting area to be honest. But in the cybersecurity area we are looking for positions of all different levels. Certainly at the higher levels, we do need the candidates to have a fairly high degree of technical background and education. But there are entry level positions also and I think, especially the folks out there who find themselves in a situation where they are unemployed right now due to the COVID situation that we’re in, they may be trying to find a path that will give them a different career path. It would certainly be possible where those folks can get an entry level position in for example, cyber security in our practice and do a position, for example, a help desk position, that sort of thing. It begins to get them exposed to the technical areas that they would later become proficient in.

Michael Tinsley:

Another benefit, and certainly Neo Systems offers it, and I’m sure other employers do too, is a tuition reimbursement program. Even though you might come in at a lower level, you could take advantage of that and while you’re working and learning some skills through that, pursue the education and the technical degree as well. That same concept applies on the accounting side, because again, on accounting, certainly we do have open positions that require a fairly high level of experience and even a CPA would be helpful. Likewise, we have entry level positions and that same strategy can be deployed on that side of the house just in a different discipline.

Chris Maslyn:

I would add that I think it’s also helpful… I mentioned before about having a willingness to travel, but sometimes for entry level positions it’s really helpful to be onsite. I’m excited about all the episodes to be honest. Really the main subject here is how entry-level candidates candidates… How do you break into the industry? How do you get started? I can see that as a big one. But also some of the other episodes where you’re talking about demystifying the clearance process. Remove that as a barrier in your brain. It’s not that difficult to understand. Just do the right thing and don’t get in trouble. It’s pretty simple. But as far as you know where you go with a career, it’s really wide open. If you just get started, Michael mentioned working on a service desk and learning the field. If you ever imagined, even the first job you ever went into, it’s probably not the one you’re in now, but you got a good idea about what you might like about it and what you don’t. In the same way you might learn that, wow I’m really into networking protocols or I want to learn more about cybersecurity policy and how has that changed because there are a lot of different angles you could go within cyber and I think our subject matter experts are going to talk a lot more about that.

Erin Keating:

Well, I would say that I’m in a unique position where I’ve been lucky enough to talk to a lot of the talent on your team. So bravo. A, you have some really great talent and really great expertise who are also very articulate and able to explain what they do. What either of you are doing to contribute to your talent pool within new systems, I have to give you a huge congratulations. Not only has it been truly informative I think for our audience, but myself as a claimed Luddite as well as a complete novice and layman in the cybersecurity and managed IT industry, I am able to comprehend what they’re talking about and understanding. I will say that one of the things that I think is really unique is every time I’ve done an episode with someone within your company, I am finding ways in which to think about it in an analogous way to something else I’ve done in a completely different industry, which has led me to be really excited about this particular series of episodes because I think more and more people will find that work that they’re doing in a completely different industry probably could transfer. Those skills and towns could transfer. They just maybe need to know how they could transfer or how they get in. So hopefully we’ll hear from some experts on that particular side of the equation.

Erin Keating:

But again, Chris and Michael both, you deserve a big congratulations because you’ve built a wonderful team of really good talent and I hope that this type of content will help you attract even more talent and help others find other positions.

Chris Maslyn:

Thank you very much. We’re happy to participate.

Michael Tinsley:

Thanks for having us. Also you mentioned you can understand things really well having talked with our subject matter experts. If you ever want to make a career change, let me know.

Erin Keating:

I mean it really is very fascinating. I have to be honest with you. I’ve just wrapped up five episodes with Marty Herbert in business process improvement and man, I was telling him we should just do a whole series of this based on what people need to do with change management around COVID in your own house. I told him if you could come to my house and help me plan on dishwashing process, I would love this. I think that you guys could maybe find a whole new line of business for Neo Systems, helping people manage their way through COVID-19. I’m super excited.

Erin Keating:

Chris I hope you will join us as a talent acquisition talent on future episodes. Michael, again, thank you so much for the opportunity to allow all of us to participate in being an educational platform for the industry at large. You bringing this content through Neo Systems and through this platform I think has been a big help for a lot of people and that shows some real significant leadership on your part. So thank you both for taking some time out with me on a Friday afternoon to start off this series. I look forward to bringing some more content to everyone.

Michael Tinsley:

Thanks Erin.

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