In response to the growing demand for cybersecurity professionals and the White House National Cybersecurity Strategy Implementation Plan, Visa has unveiled a comprehensive Payments Learning Program aimed at bridging the cybersecurity skills gap. The initiative, announced through a press statement, is designed to offer online courses and certifications, catering to professionals, students, and military personnel.
The primary focus of the program is to address payment cybersecurity, aligning with the national strategy that encourages companies to train more cybersecurity experts. Visa, headquartered in San Francisco, intends to extend its reach beyond the U.S., aspiring to create a globally diverse pool of skilled professionals. Subra Kumaraswamy, Visa's Chief Information and Security Officer, expressed the company's vision, stating, "Our vision is to expand the program globally, providing industry-recognized training and certification to new diverse cohorts and global communities."
The initiative includes an apprenticeship program that combines an introductory cybersecurity course with on-the-job training. Veterans, reservists, and military spouses are eligible to participate in specialized tracks, including payments cybersecurity. The move aligns with the company's commitment to supporting military personnel in transitioning to civilian roles.
Visa reported that the program has already seen success, with 10 apprentices completing a 16-week course in May 2023. Following their graduation in September, they embarked on a one-year on-the-job apprenticeship, splitting their time between remote work and onsite positions in Ashburn, Virginia, and Austin, Texas.
The launch of the Payments Learning Program comes at a crucial time as the cybersecurity talent shortage continues to grow. Visa cited data from eSentire, stating that 3.5 million cybersecurity roles remain unfilled this year. The company emphasizes the importance of cybersecurity specialists in safeguarding sensitive data, preventing financial losses, ensuring regulatory compliance, and building consumer trust within the payments industry.
Visa's commitment to addressing the cybersecurity skills gap extends beyond North America. The company already runs apprenticeship programs in Europe, focusing on client services, marketing, and sales for its commercial business, as well as a cyber, software engineering, and data analytics program in the Asia-Pacific region.
In the face of rising payment fraud and evolving cyber threats, the Payments Learning Program reflects Visa's proactive approach to workforce development. By actively seeking untapped talent, the program aims to foster a more equitable and diverse cybersecurity talent pipeline, positioning Visa as a leader in this critical domain. As Jeremy Broome, Visa's global head of talent, stated,“The Visa Payment Learning Program will not only allow for diversification of our workforce through seeking untapped talent but will actively foster a more equitable cybersecurity talent pipeline and industry.”