New Dems Urge OPM to Hire More Cyber Pros Without 4-Year Degrees


Bachelor’s degrees aren’t required for many government cyber jobs, but new hires typically have them.

A trio of moderate congressional Democrats pushed the Office of Personnel Management this week to update its hiring practices to open up more federal jobs to cybersecurity workers without 4-year degrees.

There’s no official requirement cybersecurity-focused federal employees have bachelor’s degrees, but in practice, most do because of requirements in job postings.

“Given the increasing need for cybersecurity personnel, OPM should be more flexible with job requirements,” the co-chairs of the New Democrat Coalition Cybersecurity Task Force write. “For many of these jobs, a 2-year degree or other nontraditional education paths, such as industry-recognized certification testing, can sufficiently prepare workers, especially in combination with high-value experience.”

Cybersecurity is one of seven policy task forces the coalition of 61 moderate Democrats launched in February, along with task forces on 21st-century infrastructure, the future of work and trade.

The co-chairs, Reps. Derek Kilmer, D-Wash., Kathleen Rice, D-N.Y., and Josh Gottheimer, D-N.J., also ask OPM to suggest ways Congress or the executive branch can encourage federal agencies to offer employee training for professional cybersecurity certifications.

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