The US Govt and Corps Look to Fill 700K Cybersecurity Jobs
Want a sure-fire tech job? Easy. Get the skills you need to help patch up our holey tech security blanket. From chief information security officer (CISO) positions to entry-level security jobs requiring only a CompTIA Security+ and a pulse, the jobs are out there. In fact, according to the White House, there are 700,000 cybersecurity positions open today. That’s not a typo. That’s 700 thousand jobs open.
On Tuesday, July 19, 2022, National Cyber Director Chris Inglis convened a National Cyber Workforce and Education Summit. The task before senior Federal Government representatives, private sector executives, and thought leaders was to address this overwhelming problem.
When I say “overwhelming,” that’s what I mean. By Data USA‘s count, there were only 327,000 programmers in the States in 2019. There is no magic wand we can wave and suddenly have hundreds of thousands of new security-savvy workers in our offices.
The Biden administration knows this. So, a federal multi-agency plan is being set in motion to create hundreds of registered apprenticeship programs. This is being done in concert with private companies.
U.S. Labor Secretary Marty Walsh said this joint program with the Department of Commerce would be launched “in as little as 48 hours.” By the end of a 120-day sprint, these cybersecurity apprenticeship programs should be in place.
To pay for this, the initiative is taking funding from a wider $500 million Commerce Department program, Good Jobs Challenge. It will focus on recruiting young people, women, and minorities into cybersecurity.
“The 120-Day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint,” said Walsh in a statement, “will increase awareness of current successful cybersecurity-related Registered Apprenticeship programs while recruiting employers and industry associations to expand and promote Registered Apprenticeships as a means to provide workers with high-quality, earn-as-you-learn training for good-paying cybersecurity jobs.”
This is not being created from scratch. According to the Department of Commerce, “There are currently 714 registered apprenticeship programs and 42,260 apprentices in cybersecurity-related occupations. Since Jan. 20, 2021, 199 new programs have been created — a 28% increase during the Biden-Harris administration. The 120-Day Cybersecurity Apprenticeship Sprint will build upon this progress.”
Private, Corporate Assistance
On the private side, (ISC)², a nonprofit association of certified cybersecurity professionals, announced it would help with its (ISC)² One Million Certified in Cybersecurity program. The company promises to put a million people through its foundational Certified in Cybersecurity entry-level certification exam and education program for free.
Other companies, such as Cisco with its Cisco Networking Academy; Fortinet with its Security Awareness Training; and Google, are also pushing forward with their own security apprenticeship efforts.
Will it be enough? Honestly, I doubt it. The need is enormous, and the resources aren’t sufficient. Still, it’s much better than nothing. And I appreciate that instead of simply pointing people to classes and certificates, the program’s emphasis on apprenticeships will help ensure that our next generation of cybersecurity pros will have hands-on experience.