Community Colleges May Help Fill the Growing Cybersecurity Professional Gap


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The National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) recently hosted a summit seeking to support cybersecurity education programs at community colleges. The Community College Cybersecurity Summit is the only national academic conference focused on cybersecurity education at community colleges and offers students and faculty opportunities to become more involved in cybersecurity education. 

It seems as if cybercriminals have the upper hand. Recent cyberattacks planting malware on computers and demanding ransom to unlock files demonstrate just how badly companies need pros with hacker skills and white hat hacker ethics to help protect personal data and corporate secrets. But there simply aren’t enough folks with that skillset. Helping community college students to become cybersecurity pros seems a good bet.

In May, President Donald Trump signed a long-awaited cybersecurity executive order, which called for an assessment of the workforce to ensure that the U.S. maintains a long-term security advantage. The Trump administration’s efforts follow former President Barack Obama’s Cybersecurity National Action Plan, which included $62 million to establish a CyberCorps Reserve program that would offer scholarships and develop a Cybersecurity Core Curriculum. 

NICE is a public-private sector partnership initiative focused on cybersecurity education, training, and workforce development, led by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology. According to industry professionals, this focus on the need for more cybersecurity talent isn’t unfounded.

David Brumley, associate professor at Carnegie Mellon University and director of the university’s cybersecurity research institute CyLab, previously told Bloomberg BNA that there’s an inadequate pipeline of talent to fill all the necessary public and private sector cybersecurity jobs. According to Brumley, efforts like Obama’s cybersecurity national action plan focus on only filling government jobs in cybersecurity. “Every unfilled position represents a risk, and in a connected world, that risk isn’t quarantined to just government or just industry; they’re interconnected,” Brumley said.

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