There is a ‘real shortage of new talent’ in the IT industry

25 Feb 2022

Image: Eimantas Sabaliauskas

Nord Security’s Eimantas Sabaliauskas talks through the current trends in tech including the metaverse going mainstream, as well as challenges such as talent shortages.

Eimantas Sabaliauskas is a co-founder of Nord Security, which develops a suite of cybersecurity tools for private and business use.

Outside of Nord Security, Sabaliauskas is dedicated to strengthening the start-up ecosystem and has experience in being an angel investor to more than 50 tech projects and start-ups.

He told that there’s a joke within Nord Security that he is “the ultimate quality assurance tester” in that, when something is down, he is often the first to notice. However, he said while details are important, his role is much more focused on overseeing the bigger picture.

“There are a lot of different products under the Nord Security umbrella and that’s why we have a delegated, truly talented leadership team,” he said.

“While the final major decisions fall under the responsibility of the co-founders, we discuss and consider the best possible paths with the whole leadership team.”

‘Significant steps to address cyberthreats are related to awareness, cooperation and market accountability’

What are some of the biggest challenges you’re facing in the current IT landscape?

Nord Security operates in the cybersecurity market, a highly dynamic and innovative field. For us, providing excellent products is not enough, so we continue to not only educate users about potential threats lurking online but also strive for more transparency and accountability in the market.

Some of the most successful initiatives addressing it have been regular penetration tests from third-party security experts, bug bounty programmes and regular independent audits.

Another challenge for the whole IT sector and not only for cybersecurity is a real shortage of new talent. From our experience and others, we see that our teams could grow even more rapidly if there were a more extensive flow of IT specialists. And that doesn’t only cover developers.

There is also a great need for data scientists, marketing analysts and other types of specialists. An even bigger challenge for us is that we are looking for candidates that are not only skilled but are also the right fit for our internal culture. That is a vital piece of Nord Security.

In the beginning, Tom Okman, the other co-founder of Nord Security, and I led the interview process ourselves for a long time, up until around the 100th person. But now we have a strong community of cybersecurity professionals with a like-minded vision of fighting for a better internet.

What are your thoughts on digital transformation within your industry?

Our industry is naturally digital from the ground up and rapid transformation is just another day at the office for cybersecurity companies. However, one of the most exciting and at the same time intimidating transformations to IT processes might be the implementation of AI and machine-learning algorithms.

We consider the latest development trends of machine learning in our product development and we see it in other fields as well like marketing, content creation and code writing. Our industry is on the verge right now, and I would guess that after two or three years, some processes and even professions will change beyond recognition.

What are your thoughts on how sustainability can be addressed from an IT perspective?

If we take a step back and look at this question in more general terms, I think it is important to mention that all three aspects of sustainability – social, economic, and environmental – are important for our company.

So, for example, if we dig into the social element, we take a thorough fostering approach when it comes to our people. We want to ensure psychological safety by watching the overall mood dynamics and taking precautions to prevent burnout at the earliest stages.

Then, of course, there are many more initiatives, like mentorship programmes, in-house physiotherapists, or private health insurance. All these initiatives come from our people, and we are really proud to have such caring and mindful members of our team.

And the same goes for the other aspects. We optimise our operations, avoiding negative impact on the environment, and we look for ways to ensure that our growth and business can add up to the local overall economic sustainability.

What big tech trends do you believe are changing the world and your industry specifically?

Once again, it is relevant to stress the current presence of AI in the tech world, which will only increase in the future. As a beta tester of the GPT-3 language model, I can see up close how rapidly it evolves and how more and more ways open up to apply it.

It is already working behind the scenes to improve the quality of code writing, analyse legal content, accurately translate texts, optimise marketing campaigns and countless other scenarios. I don’t think it will take over human jobs, but it will undoubtedly help increase efficiency considerably.

It is also worth noting other significant tech trends: metaverses going mainstream, blockchain tech becoming a product for the masses alongside decentralised Web 3.0 initiatives and health-tech innovations. Online user growth, in general, is an exciting tech trend to observe.

With the recent major Microsoft acquisition of Activision, we saw the gaming industry overtaking the leading position in the overall entertainment market. It can even be said that we are starting to see a sort of fusion process between the two worlds, with big movie studios and streaming services extending the gaming experience through film and, vice versa, films expanding game universes.

How can we address the security challenges currently facing your industry?

I believe that significant steps to address cyberthreats are related to awareness, cooperation and market accountability. Therefore, we should search for ways to bring people even more awareness about potential online dangers and ways to protect themselves.

At the same time, any knowledge sharing between regulating institutions, NGOs, businesses and independent security researchers creates additional value to participants and the end users.

And finally, we should continue raising the accountability bar in the market so that users can be confident in their cybersecurity solutions.

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