Panelists: Government struggles to explain cybersecurity jobs
The government has struggled to explain the field of cybersecurity to job seekers and students, said panelists at an Oct. 25 event at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.
"We're out advertising that we need over 10,000 people, we need high-skilled people," said Karen Evans, national director of the U.S. Cyber Challenge. "But when you go to USAJobs and you type in 'cybersecurity'...two or three jobs pop up."
Army Maj. Gen. John Davis, senior military advisor for cyber to the undersecretary of defense for policy, also said the Defense Department is "struggling to fully define and empower the cyber workforce." He said it should be clearer that cybersecurity includes engineering, law enforcement, forensics, legal issues, leadership and other skill sets.
The vague definition of the field also prevents students from pursuing cybersecurity as a career, added Davina Pruitt-Mentle, director of educational technology, policy and outreach at the University of Maryland.
"You just don't look up 'cybersecuritist'" and find out about the career path, she said. The jobs tend to fall under other fields like criminal justice, business, computer science and engineering, she added.
Another panelist, Rosemary Wenchel, the Homeland Security Department's deputy assistant secretary for cybersecurity coordination, said she had moved between policy, business and highly technical jobs in her career. That's one of the main attractions of the field, she said, but that aspect isn't widely known.
She also said organizations like the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers once dealt with mostly technical issues but have grown more involved in international relations issues. Yet, she said, their "techie" reputations have persisted.
The inability for the government and others to define cybersecurity has produced a disconnect between what they say they want and how they communicate it, added Evans.
- go to the CSIS event webpage (webcast available)
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