America needs well trained professionals working in cybersecurity roles. These professionals are critical in both private industry and the government for the security of individuals and the nation. The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) is committed to strengthening the nation’s cybersecurity workforce through standardizing roles and helping to ensure we have well-trained cybersecurity workers today as well as a strong pipeline of future cybersecurity leaders of tomorrow.
Cyber Career Pathways Tool
The Cyber Career Pathways Tool will help individuals identify, build, and navigate a potential career path in cyber by increasing one's understanding of the knowledge, skills, and abilities needed to begin, transition, or advance a cyber career. Individuals from various backgrounds and age groups can use the tool to better understand the cyber workforce, in addition to the different types of cyber work roles and their relationship to one another. The tool was created and is maintained in partnership with the Interagency Federal Cyber Career Pathways Working Group, led by CISA, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Veterans Affairs.
You can find the Cyber Career Pathways Tool here, along with other tools and resources for current and future cybersecurity professionals on CISA’s National Initiative For Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) website.
Increase and Strengthen the Future Cybersecurity Workforce
Starting with the country’s youngest students, CISA has partnered with not-for profits, middle and high schools, universities, and state school boards across the country to help incorporate cybersecurity concepts into classrooms. For the past seven years, CISA has partnered with CYBER.ORG, formerly known as the National Integrated Cyber Education Research Center (NICERC), a not-for profit academic development center to provide K-12 cybersecurity curricula and hands-on professional development for teachers at no cost. To date, the grant has helped get this cybersecurity curricula into the hands of over 18,000 teachers impacting three million students in al 50 states and four U.S. territories. Individual states can work with CISA and CYBER.ORG to approve the curricula state-wide.
As strengthening the cybersecurity workforce becomes a greater priority, the nation is increasingly looking to higher education to produce skilled and qualified cybersecurity professionals able to defend national networks and infrastructure. In response, CISA and the National Security Agency (NSA) jointly sponsor the National Centers of Academic Excellence (CAE) program, designating specific two- and four-year colleges and universities as top schools in Cyber Defense (CD). Schools are designated based on their robust degree programs and close alignment to specific cybersecurity-related knowledge units (KUs), validated by top subject matter experts in the field. CAE graduates help protect national security information systems, commercial networks, and critical information infrastructure in the private and public sectors.
To encourage students to enter cybersecurity degree programs, CISA co-sponsors the CyberCorps®: Scholarship for Service (SFS) program — providing scholarships for bachelors, masters, and graduate degree programs focusing in cybersecurity in return for service in Federal, State, local, or tribal governments upon graduation. The scholarship assists in funding the typical costs incurred by full-time students while attending a participating institution, including tuition and education and related fees. The scholarships are funded through grants awarded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) in partnership with DHS and the Office of Personnel Management (OPM).
Advancing the Cybersecurity Profession
The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) Cybersecurity Workforce Framework (NICE Framework) is the foundation for increasing the size and capability of the U.S. cybersecurity workforce. It is a national resource that categorizes, organizes, and describes cybersecurity work. The NICE Framework provides educators, students, employers, employees, training providers and policy makers with a system for organizing the way we think and talk about cybersecurity work, and what is required of the cybersecurity workforce.
Additionally, CISA’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Careers and Studies (NICCS) website serves as a national resource for cybersecurity awareness, education, training, and career opportunities. NICCS makes training information available through a robust, searchable catalog which allows users to find cyber training programs based on location, preferred delivery method, specialty area, or proficiency level. NICCS supports CISA’s objective to grow the cyber workforce by providing information about science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) and cyber-related degree programs, internship and scholarship opportunities, and cyber competitions and events.