Demond Cook Left the NBA to get Minorities Involved in Cybersecurity

Demond Cook

Demond Cook, founder of the Cook Consulting Group, discuss Cybersecurity in a webinar. (Image: Demond Cook)

Demond Cook knows there are more than 3 million unfilled cybersecurity jobs in the U.S. today and he wants minorities to fill as many of those jobs as possible.

It’s why Cook left his job in corporate security at the National Basketball Association (NBA) to start the Cook Consulting Group (CCG) in 2020. Cook, who has worked in cybersecurity since 2012, noticed a significant disconnect between hiring managers and recruiters in the cybersecurity industry.

“I noticed the disconnect between hiring managers and recruiters in cyber security,” Cook told AfroTech. “Most recruiters have no idea what cyber security professionals do for a living, so I started CCG to bridge the gap. This would also put me in a position of influence to help more people of color break into the field of cybersecurity.”

CCG helps by vetting cybersecurity candidates for top companies and small businesses hoping to incorporate cybersecurity to land highly qualified candidates. Additionally, CCG provides awareness training, risk assessments, leadership services, and manages security services.

Cook Also has a Youtube page teaching those interested in how to begin and thrive in a career in cybersecurity and CCG won a Comcast RISE grant to help produce a 30-second commercial to be shown on Comcast’s XFinity cable networks.

There are significant racial gaps in the number of workers, managers and corporate executives in the tech and cybersecurity industries. Large tech companies including Apple and Amazon are now trying to defeat those gaps through training and career pipelines at HBCUs, which were developed and installed in the aftermath of the 2020 Black Lives Matter movement but more is needed.

CCG is also working to close those gaps and has been backed by several tech companies including CompTIA, a nonprofit that issues professional certifications for the information technology industry and Cyversity, which works to increase the number of women and minorities in tech.

Cook knows Cybersecurity can be an intimidating field to get into but says it’s easier than many make it out to be and there is a range of jobs available that can not only keep minorities interested and engaged but can also offer life-changing salaries and benefits.

“Most people of color I speak to view cybersecurity as an intimidating field of choice,” Cook told Afrotech. “They think that you have to be a hacker or a coder to break into cyber. I personally do not know how to hack or code, but cybersecurity has changed my life. It was the best decision I have made for my career.”

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