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Shortage of IT Security Professionals not Unique to Government

By Hallie Golden // April 16, 2015

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The federal government is not the only entity struggling to fill its ranks with talented information security professionals. The entire world appears to be in the same boat, according to a new study.

Conducted by growth consulting company Frost & Sullivan, the (ISC)² Global Information Security Workforce Study polled almost 14,000 information security professionals around the world. Twenty percent of those polled indicated they were government employees. 

The survey discovered a clear consensus: The world is not producing enough information security professionals to keep up with demand.

“A perfect storm is enveloping the information security workforce with the resulting wake being a widening gap between the number of security professionals needed and the actual number available to be hired,” the report stated.

More than 60 percent of respondents said their organizations currently have too few information security workers. That's up 6 percent from from the same survey in 2013.

Two years ago, the majority of the survey’s respondents stated the dearth was because of insufficient funds, or “that business conditions could not support additional personnel.”

This year, respondents said the personnel shortage is because organizations have a difficult time finding qualified workers has climbed by 8 percent since ...

Google's Other Big Research Project: Curbing Its Own Prejudice

By Joe Pinsker // The Atlantic // April 16, 2015

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Self-driving cars, balloons that beam Internet service to previously unconnected citizens below, immortality—these are the farsighted, high-risk pursuits that Google calls its "moonshots." But another one of its wildly ambitious projects isn't classified as such, and falls a lot closer to campus: curbing workplace discrimination. The company, which has roughly two male employees for every female employee, has spent three years making data-based revisions to its hiring and promotion processes.

No company—and certainly no tech company—has figured out how to dissolve the unconscious biases that govern human-resources decisions. And even if Google found a proven fix for its diversity problem, change would still come slowly. “At our rate of hiring, if we wanted to move to 50-50, we'd have to hire only women for something like the next four, five, or six years,” says Laszlo Bock, the senior vice president of people operations at Google. “To have a meaningful change in the numbers and representation is actually going to take a while because it turns out it's illegal to only hire women or only hire African Americans. So it's going more slowly than I'd like, and more slowly than we'd like ...

The Federal Government Needs a ‘Master Plan’ for Getting More Cyber Talent into Government

By Jack Moore // April 13, 2015

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The Obama administration needs to formally declare a “critical need” for cybersecurity talent in government and allow all agencies to fast-track the often sluggish federal hiring process when recruiting for a broad range of cyber positions.

The government should also stand up a civilian Cyber Reserve Training Corps, modeled on the military’s ROTC program, to provide education and workforce development and to serve as a more formalized pipeline to federal information-security careers.

Those are some of the key recommendations for shoring up the government’s wobbly cybersecurity recruiting efforts, made in a new report by the Partnership for Public Service and contractor Booz Allen Hamilton, “Cyber Insecurity II: Closing the Federal Talent Gap.”

The government continues to face a laundry list of challenges in recruiting and retaining cyber talent, including fierce competition from the private sector and an inability to shell out top-dollar salaries.

Even as cyberattacks on federal networks ratcheted up in recent years, the Obama administration has so far failed to map out a master strategy for plugging the gaps in its high-tech workforce, the report concluded.

Agencies have largely been left to fend for themselves, the authors of the report argued.

Some agencies, such as the ...

10 Charts That Paint Fascinating Portrait of Modern-Day Programmer

By Alice Truong // Quartz // April 13, 2015

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Stack Overflow, a Q&A site for programmers, recently came out with its 2015 developer survey. With responses from more than 26,000 people in 157 countries, Stack Overflow was able to pinpoint some interesting trends in tech and how they vary regionally, painting a picture of the life of a programmer today around the world.

US developers are old in comparison

Globally, the average age of developers is 28.9 years old, born around the time IBM manufactured its first megabit chip, according to the company. Though Silicon Valley has a reputation for its whiz-kid programmers, US developers—at an average age of 31.6 years—are the oldest among countries with at least 10 million people. The average age in India, meanwhile, is 25.

More women are entering the field

According to the survey, 92.1% of its respondents identified as male. But the company admits the numbers are skewed when compared with industry data, which reflects about 20% female. That said, the site says there are encouraging signs more women are entering the field, judging by the high percentage of women with less programming experience.

India leads in the percentage of female developers

Most developers are still ...

How Google Is Tackling the Science of How to Build Excellent Teams

By Max Nisen // Quartz // April 9, 2015

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Project Oxygen started out as an attempt by Google’s People and Innovation Lab (PiLab) to prove that managers don’t really matter. The internal team of researchers, who are focused on understanding how people work, ended up proving the opposite. It became one of the most impactful projects to ever come out of the group according to HR head Laszlo Bock, who spoke to Quartz ahead of the release of his new book Work Rules!

Out of the gate, it proved to Google’s skeptical engineers that managers really do make a difference. But it also provided a roadmap to guide Google’s approach to management. The researchers distilled their conclusions into eight attributes that set exceptional managers apart. These include being a good coach, empowering and not micromanaging a team, and expressing interest in team members’ success and well being.

Figuring out how to manage better has flowed naturally to what Bock describes as PiLab’s next big project, figuring out the science of excellent teams.

“Project Oxygen was all about if managers matter, and what makes managers great,” Bock says. “The successor to that is trying to figure out what makes teams great.

PiLab’s PhD scientists ...