Clearer Cybersecurity Career Paths

New Young Professionals program is open to both aspiring and active cybersecurity professionals age 35 and under.

Congress last month failed to pass comprehensive cybersecurity legislation, and that means that young high school and college students and recent college graduates are going to continue having a tough time entering the cybersecurity field.

“We’re finding that while there might be a lot of young people who could be good for the information security field, they’re not aware of the opportunities and they’re struggling to find a career guidance, a career path and career resources to help them get into the profession,” Sarah Bohne, director of communications and member services at (ISC)2, said Friday. “Even if they are lucky enough to find a school that provides a focused cybersecurity curriculum … there’s really a lack of guidance and tools that can take them from school to the workforce.”

As a result, (ISC)2 will kick off a pilot program at its second annual Security Congress this weekend designed to attract more young people into the information security field, whether they are still in high school, recently graduated from college or new to the workforce. The new Young Professionals program is open to both aspiring and active cybersecurity professionals age 35 and under who are looking for ways to bolster their careers and deepen their connections with the professional community.

The pilot program will include eight (ISC)2 chapters from across the world, including chapters in California, Florida, New Jersey, Nebraska, Sri Lanka and Brazil. The Washington, D.C., chapter also will participate, and this will be the primary platform for those seeking employment with the federal government, (ISC)2 said.

The full program will be rolled out across the organization’s 50 chapters around the world starting in early 2013.

Bohne said the Young Professionals program will leverage the more than 13,000 existing (ISC)2 members who are age 35 and under by designating some of them as liaisons to create social events and networkingevents that are specific to young professionals interested in or just entering the field. Within the first two weeks since announcing the new program, (ISC)2 has received more than 200 inquiries from its young members about the program, Bohne said.

(ISC)2 also has created a special group within InterSec, a virtual networking website for cybersecurity professionals, where participants in the Young Professionals program can interact virtually, Bohne said.

Earlier this year, (ISC)2 released a study on the impact of the deteriorating economy on the cybersecurity workforce and found that nearly 60 percent of professionals surveyed said networking was one of their top methods for finding a job.

“We’re trying to apply that into services and programs like this that can really bolster the strength of the information security workforce of the future,” Bohne said.  

If you’re a young professional interested in participating in the program, click here ( Young professionals interested specifically in federal jobs can be connected to the Washington, D.C. chapter of Young Professionals by e-mailing