The guide brings together various ways the agency and its partners are trying to address the government's perennial workforce challenge.
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency is emphasizing recent changes in the government’s approach to developing a strong cybersecurity workforce in a lengthy guide it released Friday.
“This guide is a one-stop-shop for information and resources to help professionals start and/or advance their careers in cybersecurity through training,” CISA said in a press release. “By using this guide, the cybersecurity profession will understand the applicable work roles, tasks, and knowledge, skills, and abilities that are the keys to success; and discover training and professional development opportunities to build skills and maximize potential.”
The guide comes as officials promote a new Cyber Talent Management System at the Homeland Security Department that offers more pay flexibility for hiring managers and doesn’t rely on the USAjobs website.
Top officials—Homeland Security Secretary Aljandro Mayorkas, CISA Director Jen Easterly and CISA Executive Assistant Director for Cybersecurity Eric Goldstein—noted this while recruiting prospective workers this week at the Black Hat and DefCon hacker conferences, a major draw for talented practitioners and those generally interested in the field.
“I am proud to announce that we’re launching our new Cyber Talent Management System in short order. This initiative—which is the product of a law enacted seven years ago—will give us more flexibility to hire the very best cyber talent and ensure we can compete more effectively with the private sector,” Mayorkas told the Black Hat audience. “It’s taken too long to get here, but we are proud to have gotten this hiring effort over the finish line. Developing a top-tier, diverse cybersecurity workforce will remain a priority for us at DHS and the federal government under the Biden-Harris administration. I cannot overstate the pride and sense of profound fulfillment one will have in joining our team. You can really do a lot here with us.”
All eyes are on the Cyber Talent Management System. A massive DHS reform bill from the House Homeland Security Committee would require annual reports to Congress tracking the success of the effort.
The guide CISA released Friday offers a way for those thinking about entering the field, and those already in government, to align their interests with work categories in the National Institute of Standards and Technology’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education, or NICE, framework and to pursue professional development accordingly.
“The cybersecurity workforce is on the front lines of our nation’s security,” Goldstein said, releasing the guide. “Our objective is to provide the right tools so this critical workforce knows where to find the available training that can help them be well prepared and skilled. This comprehensive guide will help individuals identify a job track and pinpoint areas for growth.”
The interactive document contains pages upon pages of links to free and paid training and certification courses. It also highlights opportunities for shadowing and rotation and notes the importance of experience and abilities over traditional educational indicators such as a four-year college degree.
“Proficiency is not aligned to position level or to pay scale such as the General Schedule for government employees,” the guide says.