back to article Why waste away in a cubicle when you could be a goddamn infosec neuromancer on £50k*?

The UK government is expanding a programme that aims to get more Brits to consider careers in information security. The Cyber Skills Immediate Impact Fund (CSIIF) pilot, launched in February 2018, resulted in the selection of seven schemes that intend to increase diversity and widen the net in recruiting for the field. The …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    neurodiverse ?

    Does anyone else get the irony of describing people who don't get subtle social and linguistic cues with some smug euphemism?

    I'm not "neurodiverse" I'm smart, sarcastic, often annoying, occasionally brilliant and don't suffer fools gladly

    1. James 51

      Re: neurodiverse ?

      Nice to know I'm making you miserable then.

    2. Keven E

      Re: neurodiverse ?

      "Does anyone else get the irony of describing people..."

      It is a word that struck me as *odd... but not ironic at all... more like completely patronizing and pairing that descriptor with "women" kinda pisses me off a bit at the men's (dog)clubhouse attitude still being prevalent enough as to throw others a bone of pseudo *compliance to diversity.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: neurodiverse ?

      Although I'm not sure about this, I believe that some groups to which this term might apply use it about themselves. If so, it's an endonym as well as an exonym, and I think it's fine to use it (it's not always safe to use endonyms if you're not in the group they apply to though: there's a famous example where it's very offensive).

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: neurodiverse ?

          Speaking for myself, i think "neurodiverse" is about a good a term as anyone has come up with. Some are still reeling at being labelled "Asperger" after some Professor after he was revealed as a Nazi collaborator who helped in the destruction of disabled kids. So hey.

          I think many "neurodiverse", especially older types, would prefer to be left alone. Some have gotten used to being labelled "boffins" or something at some point in their careers and don't care much for the attention that "coming out" in the modern world would bring.

          So it is important to understand that "neurodiverse" is a label used by society and much less a label that an autistic people would use about themselves. Nope, i don't recall anyone ever consulting me on the matter. Neither do many that society labels such even think of themselves as disabled.

          But if it is society's rules then neurodiversity or just plain autism (as it is in the US) therefore represents a social model of disability: Ie., Disability caused by society creating barriers to the equal participation of impaired (or neurologically different) people.

          My general point is, please don't blame "neurodiverse" people for any of this. This is all down to "society". Got it? But for me i'll take it since i have encountered many "glass doors" in my life, blocked promotions etc. Given the game we are now in i feel strongly for the new kids, the millennials and all. They must be given a chance. When i started out IT was still a niche thing but now it's gone mainstream so there is a lot more competition blocking out the kids who are a bit different from the rest of the herd.

          I'll leave it there.

          1. SonOfDilbert

            Re: neurodiverse ?

            "Society" is like an immature teenager eager to point out any and all differences compared to what they experience in their little world. "Society" needs to grow up and stop finger-pointing. We are _all_ neurologically diverse after all.

      2. fedoraman

        Re: neurodiverse ?

        Yo ginga!

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: neurodiverse ?

      It’s a word that allows stupid people to get jobs too, bless their working class selves.

      1. fajensen
        IT Angle

        Re: neurodiverse ?

        .... a word that allows stupid people to get jobs too, ....

        Well, what are the alternatives!? We used to have "room in the bottom line" to some dumb-bells to Q&A check the electrical cords, serve tea and whatever. Then business got the competition disease, the underperformers got fobbed off onto the local councils, then government caught the competition virus with an asian mutation a.k.a. Vengeance, then we filled up the social security budget allocations as well as the housing estates with useless lads and lad-ettes, and now we are going full cirkle and employing them again.

        Which is good and at least progress, in my book.

    5. Wzrd1 Silver badge

      Re: neurodiverse ?

      Bleh, I'm the BOFH MKII, turned infosec technical.

      My security robots are armed with laser wielding sharks and the room that you thought was the server room is actually a tank to be instantly filled with water and yes, the robots are water tight to 190 meters. Working on getting greater depth of performance and performance depth from them. The sharks are fine on their own.

      For security reference, for this non-subject, I'll offer affidavits from SAS and SBS team members, who know me and served together during mutual bacon saving missions. I'm also available via FVEY references.

      Conditions, property rights in ten acres or so of fine forest, with a modest residence hidden within and a modest access road with a collapsible upon authorized vehicle approach of a "road closed" sign. ;)

      Negotiable down to five acres, with no blasted neighbors. And a firearms license, with arms and ammunition to be stored at the local constable's office and constables will be authorized to familiarize themselves to their heart's content - in a sporting manner.

      And of course, full NHS health care access. ;)

      Yes, I know. That last is a joke, the other conditions, negotiable somewhat. I am an excellent competition marksman, but securing the things are damnably expensive for civilized nations life, so I'll palm it off on the constabulary. Military would also, on their free time, be permitted to utilize said firearms.

      The road close sign, a joke, but would be welcome.

      Yes, I've had some legendary bad neighbors in my time, peace and quiet is all that I want now, save at work, where it actually is WWIII with cyber warfare.

      I'll supply my own batmobile, which likely will suspiciously appear to be a caravan.

    6. David Roberts

      Re: neurodiverse ?

      My (faulty) translation routine immediately came up with "scatterbrained".

      Scatterbrained people are usually happy, cheerful, gay, excited, bouncy....

      Yes, my glossary was populated before some words were intentionally repurposed. Which leads me to wonder if the average school year classes are neurodiverse, with some bright and some less so? Is Parliament neurodiverse (it is certainly eurodiverse) for similar reasons?

      Why this insane urge to use enormously generic terms to fit your own specific area of interest? For example "differently abled" could equally apply to those who can run marathons at a sub 5 minute mile pace and those who can't. Or failed dancers with two (metaphorical) left feet.

      And breathe.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mr Robot

    "Why waste away in a cubicle..."

    That is so Dilbert and soooo last century. People these days imprisoned by open-plan hot-desking batteries or stuck on beanbags or else wired to endless rounds of Starbucks DREAM OF CUBICLES.

    BTW its nice that the N A S are in onto this but let's not forget that EVERY career path in IT should be open to us Auties not just necromancy. Please save us from Mr Robot stereotype weirdness. Can do better than infosec. Come to think of it can do better than £50K.

    1. fajensen

      Re: Mr Robot

      I think hot-desking is too soft on them.

      You want task specific workstations, TaskStations(tm), so that the peons will need to circulate from station to station to complete one workflow. It is important that not all information is transferred between TaskStations(tm) so the peons must bring notes at all time.

      You want individual position tracking to measure if anyone are hanging around with nothing to do.

      You want to have about 10% less TaskStations(tm) than is required for the workload to encourage a healthy spirit of competition amongst the peons - and to always have some slackers recorded in the movement stats.

      For the final touches, You probably want individual life insurances on the peons made out with your tax-exempt shell corporation as the beneficiary. Maybe the one that specialises in organ harvesting?

      Perhaps we can make the TaskStations coin-operated? For added value, one can get the people who designs parking payment machines to create the usage fee structure?

      -- Oi, Where is the cat-icon!?

    2. JohnFen

      Re: Mr Robot

      "People these days imprisoned by open-plan hot-desking batteries or stuck on beanbags or else wired to endless rounds of Starbucks DREAM OF CUBICLES."


      I quit my last job primarily because they shifted to an open office plan, and that was a completely intolerable working environment. I work in a cubicle in my current job, and I'm extremely happy to be doing so.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mr Robot

        There is irony there since individuals on the autistic spectrum are likely to need cubicles as part of their being accommodated in the workplace.

        That said, i do think we would all benefit from cubicles. I think the real reason they are disappearing is the cost of modern office space. It annoys me particularly all the modern groupthink that has gone into justifying hot-desking or being forced to work at home or hang out in a Starbucks.

        1. JohnFen

          Re: Mr Robot

          "I think the real reason they are disappearing is the cost of modern office space."

          Yes, this seems obvious to me, particularly given the many studies to date that show that open office plans decrease both productivity and quality of work, leaving cost savings as the only benefit left.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    If your considering... don't bother it pays pittance..

    Any more people who join will just further decrease the meagre salaries.

    (He say's.. whilst smiling with glee, staring at his almost 6 figure salary)

    In all seriousness though, it's a good career path, but don't mistake it for your common Engineer, IT Manager. Developer career paths (i.e. Headphones on, hacking away at code or infrastructure).

    There is a massive element of social interaction, building relationship with teams and individuals, it requires a lot of patience to effect change and even more effort to bite your tongue!

    1. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: If your considering...

      don't get out of bed for less than 600 a day - unless the gig requires one to be in bed, in which case you're on to an all together different - possibly hourly - tariff

  4. Peter Galbavy

    What about for the other days of the week?

  5. GnuTzu


    Several large monitors, a workstation powerful enough to perform--even with loads of end-point security tools dragging it down, and permission to install scripting languages and a serious suite of power tools, from Wireshark to Cygwin. How can you expect high levels of competency when the environment to gain many, many, many hours of experience exploring the incredible variety of various aspects and quirks of different protocols and API's is not there.

    1. vir

      Re: Tools

      I think you mean an Ono-Sendai Cyberspace 7 with coronal dermatrodes, 4 megabytes of hot RAM, and extended capacity battery pack.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: Tools

        I have one but I'd rebuilt it so many times that you'd have had a hard time finding a square millimetre of factory circuitry in all that silicon

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tools

      I'm carrying out my latest 6 monthly AD audit, my monitor has a 1600x800 resolution and the PC is about 8 years old.

      My dumps from AD take a couple of minutes to load, they are only 20,000 rows or so each but I can see the HDD LED flickering like mad as my little PC builds up the puff to work.

      I have probably spent more time today waiting on the PC, struggling to sort/organise the data on the screen which has a lower resolution than my "smart" phone than actually being productive.

  6. Tom Paine


    Or just become a skilled trades - good builders make far, far more than £50k round here, a reasonably competent and experienced chippie, sparks, tiler, plumber, plasterer etc will be closer to £100k than £50k.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Why?

      My mate is just finishing off his Gas Safe cert, he'll then be a qualified plumber, electrician and gas fitter.

      He might earn £90K+ a year whilst not working weekends but he works damn hard for it and I don't begrudge him a penny of it.

      Handy friend to have too!

    2. Ken 16 Silver badge

      Re: Why?

      and those are also good skills for breaking into places and stealing information

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Why?

        The orange safety clothing a clipboard has been known as "Cloak of Invisibility" ...

    3. fajensen

      Re: Why?

      And whatever you do - save 20% of your after tax salary in a few investment accounts. "Retire" at 40!

  7. Giovani Tapini

    difficult path to get into direct, or via another IT path from what I can see

    unless someone is kind enough to sponsor a couple of certifications.

  8. Joe Harrison

    What are they looking for

    When you get past all the quota-filling filler it looks like they are short of people who actually know what they are doing with computer / network security. Why not just expose a few medium-difficulty honeypots then people who get in find a path like /HR/confidential/executives/salaries/README_if_you_want_a _job.txt

    Only serious crackers (whether for fun or for profit) put in the time and effort needed to get good at sensing weaknesses and exploiting them in previously-unknown ways. You can't expect the same level of dedication from industry people with real-world objectives like large estates to protect and relying on vendors to find and patch any holes.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    To the nay sayers

    £50k is low. I get double that and many consultants get much more but I chose to have my own desk and regular hours.

    I have been a penetration tester for 7 years since graduating from a masters but your don't necessarily need one (check out Royal Holloway if you think you do).

    I work about 30 hours a week.

    The work is mentally stimulating apart from writting the reports at the end of the week.

    There are those that earn more but they have to work hard and don't get so much hobby and family time.

    As an industry we already can't recruit enough people. If you have a shred of IT or development skill you can do what I do. You can learn everything on the internet (Google learn penetration testing), mostly for free but there are also some fantastic training courses out there (sans etc).

    1. elawyn

      Re: To the nay sayers

      google 'Penetration testing'? but turn off images...

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    Bet that's with London allowance, PhD in cyber security and full blockchain fluency, is gross of income tax, VAT and Crapita's commission, and applies only to one of the first three positions available.

    Sadly I'm looking to earn actual money that I can actually spend in the part of the country where I actually live.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    This is all we need

    More morons in the security arena who have no idea how to work with infrastructure and getting the server guys to do an their work for them...

    In 20 years, the number of firewall or security consultants that actually understand how an IT infrastructure works can be counted on 1 finger.. Let alone 1 hand

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: This is all we need

      Did you really read that piece? Individuals on the autism spectrum are not morons.

    2. Chris King

      Re: This is all we need

      "In 20 years, the number of firewall or security consultants that actually understand how an IT infrastructure works can be counted on 1 finger.. Let alone 1 hand"

      Speak for yourself, I work in a team where all five of us came up "through the ranks", and actually worked with networks, servers and other infrastrucfture before moving over into security and firewalls.

      Sure, there are plenty of "more certifications than braincells" types out there, but we're not all that bad.

  12. Paul Crawford Silver badge


    Why did I read that as a infosec necromancer? Maybe it is closer to the truth.

  13. CPU

    When I did my CISSP exam (many moons ago), there was a guy who came in and did the exam in less than 2 hours, rumor had it he had just read the book(s) and sat the exam. I've certainly met plenty of Microsoft and Cisco certified people who have never even seen a live network before they earned their merit badge. Maybe 'Mr Robot' does exist, if so, 50K seems a pretty decent starting figure for such talent.

  14. Bavaria Blu

    Social skills could be taught?

    It might be possible to train people to have better social skills? Or is it impossble to teach an old dog new tricks? IT does seem to attract people with poor social awareness. Perhaps the idea of sitting a room with only a computer for company all day particularly appeals to them. I've had colleagues like that, who have real difficulty if they have to interact with users at all.

    1. MrBlack

      Re: Social skills could be taught?

      It's funny how people think only people in IT sit in front of a computer all day - financial traders, graphic designers, sound designers/engineer, film editors, finance staff, really nearly everyone except manual jobs and other lower skilled jobs.

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    neurodiverse individuals

    I know it's being interpreted here as Aspergers spectrum (and that's probably what the government mean) but wasn't that the term used in Charles Stross for the Toymaker and his associates, describing anti social personality disorder/psychopathy?

  16. Cab

    Infosec short of people ? What a shock.

    Looked into Infosec a few years back when I was looking to leave academia (didn't in the end). All jobs required full CISSP certification and part of CISSP cert was 12 months industrial experience. And now you say they don't have enough folk ? Well I'm stunned.

  17. gerryatric

    After hitting the top of the salary scale they will have to move into management if they want to buy a house, have a family or whatever. Couldn't have the saviours of the nation being paid more than Col. Blimp

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