Could the future of our online security come from the exciting world of competitive video gaming? 

The cyber security industry needs people (see our current job openings here). Esports is on the rise. The natural aptitudes that make gamers and cyber professionals good at their jobs are incredibly similar. Could the future of our online security come from the exploding world of competitive video gaming?

QinetiQ and the British Esports Association are partnering to raise awareness of the common skills between cyber security professionals and esports players. 

QinetiQ have one of the world’s longest established cyber defence teams. We protect our customers’ critical infrastructure, improve their digital resilience and support their staff to overcome the challenges presented from evolving technologies and cyber threats

British Esports is a not-for-profit national body established in 2016 to promote esports in the UK, increase its level of awareness, improve standards and inspire future talent. Their aim is to support esports and provide expertise and advice. Similar to QinetiQ, they promote teamwork, communication, develop communities and provide jobs.
 
Girl dancing with headphones

As part of our partnership with the Science Museum and sponsorship of their Top Secret exhibition, we are joining the infamous Science Museum Lates adults-only, after-hours theme nights on the 25th September to bring you an interactive yet informative event that will be sure to leave you wanting more.

Virtual Reality googles

Alongside our interactive activities including live video gaming (Rocket League), virtual reality and lock picking, we will also be discussing video gamers’ skills and capabilities and how they are very similar to the skills wanted in cyber security. For example, part of a cyber security expert’s job is being able to work with large data sets which requires an excellent attention to detail. Similarly gamers have been proven to be highly attentive when playing against their opponent. This is brought about by the player's need to achieve certain objectives within the game.

Here are some more skills that cyber security professionals and esports players have in common:

Cyber Security

Problem solving skills are essential in addressing complex information security challenges. In cyber security, you need to be able to grasp the challenges you are presented with, and within the rules of the engagement try to find as many ways as possible to complete that challenge and present those to the client. For example, you have to look for combinations of commands, code or tools, or identifying logical steps which when followed causes an unintended consequence. This allows you to play out a number of ‘what-if’ scenarios so you can more fully explore the problems, risks and defences employed on each task.

Esports

Video games involve certain rules. This means the player has to think carefully before making any move. In gaming this can translate to a range of different questions such as “What did the game developer intend for me to do? How do I beat the AI or opponent? What resources do I have or need?” Therefore, being able to make correct split-second decisions under a pressured environment shows one's ability to problem solve effectively and efficiently.

Cyber Security

Being able to defend an organization against cyber breaches requires you to be highly vigilant and detail-oriented, in order to effectively detect vulnerabilities and risks. For example one of QinetiQ’s pen testers, David Viola, speaks about the importance of conducting a ‘Requirements Capture’. This involves conducting a detailed analysis of the task that the team will undergo “Our job starts before we even touch a system to be tested”. This may include sitting down with the system owners and working through the problems they want solved: identifying the technologies in use, as well as identifying the skills they may need to bring in. Keeping meticulous and rigorous notes is also a necessity so that issues can be sorted out by any individual who follows the same steps. The more details you can capture here, the more useful that report will be.

Esports

With video games, the player has to think carefully before making any move. The analogy here is to study the games you intend to play, work through the strengths and weaknesses of each element that the players can control and try to research the courses, maps or instances you intend to encounter, before putting together a strategy of how you intend to attack that. While a lot of gaming can be done in a methodical manner, it can only really be accomplished well by paying close attention to what is going on. By doing this, gamers will be able to successfully make split second decisions that will lead them to victory!

Cyber Security

Communicating your findings is what will differentiate you from a good tester and a great one. In many cyber security roles you will deploy together in small teams or cells to deliver a project or job. Being able to work closely with the individuals in your team and communicate clearly over a constrained time frame and even deal with a customer who sometimes does not know or understand what you are about to do, or why it matters, is critical. In team scenarios, it is crucial to get them to act together, to achieve the common goal. The most successful leaders who do this are the ones that clearly, identify and articulate their strategy and their desired outcomes with the rest of the team and then putting their trust in those individuals to deliver it. If they struggle, you need to be able to tutor them and support them.

Esports

Effective teamwork and communication are essential skills all esports players must possess. Talking to teammates plays a crucial role in making the right decision, which is why constant communication and delegation is required to secure team victory. Communicating clearly and coherently with your teammates will not only allow for better engagement in a game but will also develop and build relationships and friendships among players. 

Cyber Security

“We can teach you the skills to succeed in cyber security, but the enthusiasm for the job, the challenge it represents and the desire to take things apart to understand how they work while working within the legal frameworks is something that only candidates can bring to the role." (David Viola) Passion and curiosity will take you 60% of the way in cyber security and training, skills and talent makes up the rest.

Esports

In gaming, whether it is learning the strengths and weaknesses of all the players in the environment so you can plan strategies, or trying out new tactics to improve a high score, the desire and drive to improve oneself is the same as in cyber security roles.

Cyber Security

Networking in terms of “getting to know one another” is a critical tool that goes way beyond the technical side. It entails harnessing your social and communications skills to expand your professional contacts and connect, which is paramount in your career development. No tester truly improves in a bubble, Cyber Security is a community. Whether you are an analyst, Penetration Tester or a tools developer, the more you work with the community, the more capable you will become as a professional. This skill can be developed through community events, conferences, training courses etc.

Esports

In esports you rarely play games in a bubble of one. You are often working in a team. Your role in the team and your ability to support your counterparts in achieving the team victory is the only way to play. As such, there is constant communication between the players which in turn results in the development of meaningful as well as casual relationships among them.

To find out more about the skills in common between cyber security professionals and esports players, check out the below articles. 

 – BBC - How playing video games could get you a better job 

 – TechHQ - Research finds that gamers are strong candidates for cybersecurity jobs

 – Beta News - Hiring gamers may be the answer to the cyber security skills gap

 

If you have an interest in cyber security, please be sure to visit our careers page.