Cybersecurity Education & Career Development

Cybersecurity professionals are critical - in both private industry and the government - to 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.

Increase and Strengthen the Future Cybersecurity Workforce

Starting with the country's youngest students, through the Cybersecurity Education and Training Assistance Program (CETAP) which focuses on growing and educating the next generation of the cyber-literate workforce, CISA has partnered with not-for profits, elementary, 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, 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 cooperative agreement has helped get this cybersecurity curricula into the hands of over 18,000 teachers in all 50 states and four U.S. territories. Through CETAP, individual states can work with CISA to approve the curricula state-wide.

CETAP also offers additional resources, such as Cyber Safety Videos, Cyber Career Cards, technology grants, and camps and competitions.

To increase diversity across the cyber workforce, CISA’s Cybersecurity Workforce Development and Training for Underserved Communities program, a non-traditional technical training program, addresses the cyber workforce shortage through entry-level training and apprenticeship programs for potential cyber staff of all ages. Focusing on the aptitude of the individuals versus their educational background, this program is helping to support workforce development across unemployed, underemployed, and traditionally underserved communities, including veterans, military spouses, women, and people of color.​ By utilizing cooperative agreements with community-based, non-profit organizations such as the two current program recipients, CyberWarrior and NPower, CISA is increasing diversity across the cyber workforce.

The Public Infrastructure Security Cyber Education System (PISCES) is a collaborative effort between CISA and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) that provides no-cost cybersecurity monitoring to small, public-sector organizations while simultaneously educating and training students on fundamental skills surrounding event monitoring. PISCES provides qualified students with curricula and supervised experiences to act as entry-level cyber analysts that analyze streaming data for small communities or municipalities that may otherwise not be able to obtain cybersecurity to the extent needed. As a result, this program trains a future workforce of entry-level cyber analysts to meet the ever-growing demand for organizations to adapt to and protect against dynamic cyber threats and serves as a reliable, high-quality pipeline to address the shortage of cyber professionals.

PISCES has since evolved into a non-profit organization that partners with the private sector, colleges and universities, and local governments to provide no-cost cybersecurity event monitoring to small public sector organizations.

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.

Cyber Career Pathways Tool

This Tool will help you identify, build, and navigate a potential career path in cyber. Users from various backgrounds and age groups can use the tool to better understand the cyber workforce, different types of cyber work roles, and their relationship to one another. 

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