Two winners of the Cyber Security Challenge UK competition have gained jobs at consultant PwC and Royal Mail.
The job offers have come as UK security chiefs have warned that UK industry urgently needs new cyber security professionals.
Dan Summers, the postman named as the Challenge’s first overall champion earlier this year, has moved into the information security team of the Royal Mail Group.
Simon Walker, the Sans and Sophos Treasure Hunt champion, has taken a full time position at PwC after completing the company internship that was part of his prize.
Summers will work as part of the team responsible for vulnerability management at the Royal Mail. He said, "Royal Mail Group recognised my potential as a result of my participation in the Challenge. This is the perfect start to my information security career.
“Winning the Cyber Security Challenge has opened doors for me and awarded prizes that are ideal for my new role."
Upon securing the PwC internship earlier this year, Walker left his job as an IT consultant and has now become a permanent addition to PwC’s threat and vulnerability management team, which is doubling in size this year.
Walker, now a senior associate at PwC, said, “I’ve always been passionate about cyber security and have wanted to pursue this as a career for a long time but the opportunity never arose.
"This competition has opened the door for me to do this for a living rather than just a hobby, and put my skills and expertise to use in defending UK Plc against the bad guys.”
Participants solved a series of online puzzles set during the inaugural year of the national competition.
At a sponsors' event last week, cyber chiefs from across UK industry warned that attracting new talent to the profession was the biggest obstacle to combating the growing threat from online attacks.
Richard Phelps, HR management partner at PwC, said, “Organisations are facing a massive challenge in attracting, recruiting and retaining talent. Over the last four to five years, the issue of talent management has been top of the list for CEOs. Many organisations don’t have great systems in place for identifying these vital skills.
“What’s increasingly clear within the cyber profession is that our normal recruitment processes aren’t able to deliver the people with the qualities and in the number we desperately need."
He said it was "essential" that companies accept the "limitations" in their existing recruitment processes and embrace new initiatives like the Cyber Security Challenge.
Mark Hughes, managing director at BT Security, said, “The telecommunication industry operates within a boundary-less, jurisdiction-less system where the proliferation of mobile communication devices and the increasing interconnectivity of our population poses an ever increasing threat to our networks.
"We have a vested interest in protecting the consumer and are as aware as anyone of the need to develop the next generation to help us defend against increasing cyber attacks."