Developing Tomorrow’s Cyber Security Professionals

Faced with the growing threat of cyber-attacks and other cybercrime, businesses and organizations around the world are scrambling to accelerate cybersecurity talent development. Forecasts indicate that the digital transformation market will increase 22.1% by 2028*¹. At the same time, the global cybersecurity workforce shortage is estimated to be at 2.72 million people today*². That leaves industries and organizations across the spectrum at risk.

Security engineers Yoshifumi Saito, Yuta Yamate and Teru Yamazaki with Yoshinari Fukumoto, Rakuten Group, Inc., CISO Advisor and General Manager of the Cyber Security Defense Department.
Security engineers Yoshifumi Saito, Yuta Yamate and Teru Yamazaki with Yoshinari Fukumoto, Rakuten Group, Inc., CISO Advisor and General Manager of the Cyber Security Defense Department.

Tokyo cybersecurity experts share their journey, offer models for the future

From September 26 to 28, Rakuten Group, Inc.’s Cyber Security Defense Department (CSDD) held the annual cybersecurity attack and defense intensive security program ( “サイバーセキュリティ攻撃・防御第二”) in partnership with Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) for 28 master’s degree students. Four cybersecurity engineers from Rakuten Group’s CSDD held workshops and a Capture the Flag (CTF) cybersecurity competition over three days. The program was also designed to provide students with exposure to English, with a portion of the program delivered in English. Alex Olsen and Yuta Yamate held sessions on web application security, and Teru Yamazaki held sessions on digital forensics.

During the event, a Tokyo Tech alum session was held where Rakuten security expert Yoshifumi Saito shared his journey. While attending Tokyo Tech, Saito began working at Rakuten as an intern, eventually joining as a full-time employee after graduation. He described the various projects he has been involved in.

Introductory slide from Rakuten’s Alex Olsen. 
Introductory slide from Rakuten’s Alex Olsen.

Building a career in cybersecurity: Internship program for Tokyo Tech Students

Rakuten Cyber Security Defense Department’s internship program offers a paid part-time contract of a minimum of four weeks wherein selected students have the chance to contribute to various cybersecurity projects and operations. Through the internship, students get the opportunity to explore cybersecurity as a career path. In many cases, as in Saito’s, this also provides an opportunity to identify a company he was interested in working at.

Photo: Yoshinari Fukumoto, Rakuten Group, Inc., CISO Advisor and General Manager of the Cyber Security Defense Department.
Yoshinari Fukumoto, Rakuten Group, Inc., CISO Advisor and General Manager of the Cyber Security Defense Department.

Public-Private Partnership

Tokyo Tech started a new graduate-level Cyber Security Specialized Learning Program in collaboration with several companies in April 2016 to respond to changing industry demands. The program is designed to provide students with cutting-edge training in cybersecurity, cryptology, governance, and cybersecurity attacks and defense.

With a strong commitment to developing tomorrow’s cybersecurity talent, Yoshinari Fukumoto, CISO Advisor and General Manager of the Cyber Security Defense Department of Rakuten Group led the establishment of the partnership between Tokyo Tech and Rakuten. The partnership delivers an annual cybersecurity attack and defense-intensive security program focusing on practical cybersecurity knowledge from a real-world security team. Thanks to Tokyo Tech Professor Keisuke Tanaka, who specializes in computer science, Associate Professor Satoshi Matsuura, and Masahiro, who specializes in cryptosystems, this year marked the seventh year of this successful partnership. The program provided by Rakuten builds on what the students have been studying in the cybersecurity space.

Developing the next-gen cybersecurity professionals: An industry opportunity?

A successful private-public partnership between academia and industry benefits both its partners and participants: the next generation of cybersecurity professionals. Institutions forming partnerships with industry will also set themselves apart as it helps students create connections before entering the workforce. The industry can consider how to accelerate partnership-building. Planning for a future cybersecurity workforce role means addressing the global cybersecurity talent workforce shortage and improving the hiring and training pipeline.


*¹ Fortune Business Insights (2021). Market Research Report [Report ID: FBI104878]. Accessed on August 29, 2022, from: https://www.fortunebusinessinsights.com/digital-transformation-market-104878

*² NIST (2021). NICE Factsheet Workforce Demand. Accesses on August 29, 2022, from https://www.nist.gov/system/files/documents/2022/07/06/NICE%20FactSheet_Workforce%20Demand_Final_20211202.pdf

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