J. Nicholas Hoover
Across the federal government, agencies are grappling with a shortage of cybersecurity pros who have the skills to protect their computers and networks from relentless, and increasingly dangerous, forms of attack. The Department of Homeland Security and the Air Force received authority to expedite the hiring of almost 1,700 cybersecurity pros over the next two years, but fast-track hiring is a stopgap solution. The long-term answer requires new training programs and better ways of attracting and retaining employees with the sought-after skills.
At a recent cybersecurity workforce conference at the National Institute for Standards and Technology's offices in Gaithersburg, Md., chief information security officers and other government IT managers identified a range of related issues: a confusing morass of certifications; HR processes that identify candidates based on buzzwords, not bona fide experience; drawn-out hiring and security-clearance processes; federal mandates that push unqualified people to the front of the hiring line; and competition with the private sector for job candidates.