It is a very common story nowadays for a professional to enter the cyber industry mid-career, this blog is about how Matt Wilcox, CEO and Founder of FifthDomain joined the cyber industry and has become a respected cyber leader. This is the first blog in its series, which discusses FithDomain’s latest program launch CYNAPSE. FifthDomain is the lead on the program and they have partnered with 13 other technology, recruitment, and advocacy businesses to lead a more diverse cyber workforce for Australia.

Matt had an unconventional path to the cybersecurity industry. Originally graduated from university with a Bachelor of Film and Television, Matt entered the cyber field during his 30s, Matt pursued a Master of Security at Edith Cowan University in Perth. The journey and transition into cyber wasn’t easy and Matt had to work hard to learn cybersecurity tools, techniques and operations. From there, Matt landed a graduate job at ASD (Defence Signals Directorate). He spent 5 years with the Department of Defence, towards the end of his time with ASD, Matt sought to broaden his horizons and moved into management consulting, where he worked on transformation pieces across government and intelligence agencies. During that time, Matt missed the technology side of Cyber and UNSW approached Matt to write course content for their Master of Cyber Security program. Around that time, Matt met a Brigadier at the time who was bringing staff through ADFA, They ran into each other during a couple of cyber exercises, which was the genesis of FifthDomain.

After some time in the management consulting industry, Matt quit his full-time job and started FifthDomain, originally a training and consulting business. FifthDomain’s focus was on teaching cyber operations, which required understanding the cyber environment and the need for cyber simulations. Matt researched ways to teach this and came up with the idea of building a technology platform that could deploy these cyber environments instantaneously for students, at scale.

This is how FifthDomain’s technologies were born. Matt realised that copying virtual machines onto desktops and activating them was not user-friendly for students. Additionally, it required teaching staff to spend significant time setting up each course. Matt questioned how he could build a technology platform that would allow teachers to teach cyber operations easily and deploy these environments to many students, instantaneously. From there, Matt developed the technology platform, which FifthDomain is known for today.

FifthDomain, the leading Australian cyber skills assessment technology platform has launched its latest innovative program called CYNAPSE. The Department of Industry, Science and Resources co-funds the program under the Cyber Security Skills Partnership Innovation Fund.

CYNAPSE is an acronym for Cyber National Assessment Program for Skills and Employment. The program will leverage FifthDomain’s existing technology platform stack and partner with Penten, Paraflare, AU Cloud and CYDARM to build a platform for standardised skills assessments for various job roles in the cyber security industry. CYNAPSE aims to accelerate the transition of people leaving studies and entering the workforce by assessing 10,000 people and placing at least 100 people in jobs over the next year. The platform will provide detailed reporting on where the applicant sits within the cyber industry and the assessment will be able to identify how well the applicant performed specific tasks related to their job role. This will enable the assessor to build a dashboard on applicant analytics and streamline the recruitment process for cyber security professionals. The program officially launched on 6 April 2023 and will transform cyber security recruitment and workforce management.

FifthDomain is transforming the cyber security industry by bridging the gap between job seekers and employers. FifthDomain will work closely with Security Operations Managers (SOC) and cyber security professionals to identify the current challenges employers face when hiring qualified cyber professionals. One of the biggest challenges is benchmarking the skillset of the applicants and assessing the applicant’s qualifications.

The aim of the CYNAPSE program is to accelerate the transition of students and job seekers moving into the workforce by providing standardised skills assessments for various job roles, including instant response, forensics and penetration testing. With CYNAPSE assessments, employers can gain detailed reporting on an applicant’s skills and identify their strengths and areas for improvement. The assessments can also provide applicants with a journal during the assessment process to highlight the applicant’s thought processes, explaining their actions during task completion.

Skills assessments can help employers identify the right applicant for the job, de-risking recruitment processes. The platform provides a transparent and unbiased assessment of an applicant’s cyber skill set, enabling hiring managers and recruiters to better find an exact cyber skill set, matched to role competencies. The program enables a more diverse cybersecurity workforce, which is crucial to the cyber industry’s growth, and allows hiring managers and recruiters to identify and recruit talent outside of the existing demographic characteristics of the workforce. FifthDomain has heard of some amazing success stories where applicants who were initially put aside because of their background or qualifications, did well during the assessment process and continued on to gain further employment opportunities within the cyber field.

CYNAPSE is a step towards revolutionising the Australian cyber security industry, enabling employers to identify the right applicant for the role while creating a more diverse and talented workforce.

Stay tuned for the next blog within this series to discuss the CYNAPSE program in further detail and further insights the program is set to achieve. For more information on the CYNAPSE program click below.

Learn more about CYNAPSE