Cyber Readiness Means First Building the Work Force

June 8, 2016
By Sandra Jontz
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The world needs at least 1.5 million cybersecurity professionals who do not exist—a labor shortage created by the increase in frequency and severity of cyber attacks and employers all fishing from the same pond, said Michael Cameron, vice president for business development, cyber and cybersecurity at Leidos, at the NITEC 2016 cyber conference.

Solutions exist to help bridge the gap, including a detailed effort developed by the National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies, a collaboration between the Department of Homeland Security, National Institute of Standards and Technology, and National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education.

An initiative blueprint details, categorizes, organizes and describes cybersecurity work to provide a standardized starting point and to provide educators, students, employers, employees, training providers and policy makers with a systematic and consistent way to organize the field.

Additionally, heavy concentration and funding directed to build courses in primary school grades in science, technology, engineering and mathematics—better known as STEM—will help build tomorrow’s cyber work force, Cameron said on day two of the three-day NITEC 2016 cyber conference, presented by the NATO Communications and Information (NCI) Agency and AFCEA Europe and organized in cooperation with the Estonian Ministry of Defense. The conference runs from June 7-9 in Tallinn, Estonia.

Cybersecurity demands accelerated at warp speed and addressing the work force shortage will bleed into non-traditional cyber-based jobs, such as mathematicians, medical scientists and psychologists, who can help in building behavioral analytic solutions, Cameron said. 

Agencies and companies also offer what is called “career pathing," an effort to re-skill current employees and move them into to cyber-based jobs. 

Lastly, Cameron called for an increase in the number of cyber competitions at local, state and even global levels to pique interests of high school and early university level students and envelop them into the field.

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