US Desperately seeking cybersecurity pros

The calls for a beefed-up workforce that specializes in cybersecurity are not new. In this highly critical arena, the demand for talent is sky-high and insatiable. But with a nationwide shortage of students of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), where will tomorrow’s workforce – which is needed already – be found?

Leaders from across the federal government are following up on their calls for digital-era employees with a renewed sense of urgency, and with a range of initiatives designed to educate, train and incentivize work in the cyber field. They also are emphasizing that it is not just computer science majors and technological whizzes they seek.

“There’s a wide range of functions and skills that are required for us, whether you’re in industry, other elements of government, military – all across the board, there are a wide range of skills and functions we need,” said Army Maj. Gen. John Davis, senior military adviser for cyber to the under secretary of defense at the Defense Department. “Every person who touches a keyboard is in some way associated with the cyber domain, because there are disciplines and standards associated with protecting against the threats.”

Davis, who spoke Oct. 26 at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, noted that DOD, like the rest of the federal government, is feeling the shortage. That gap between supply and demand has deep roots, he said, and the problem begins with defining the need itself.

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