That qualified cybersecurity talent remains scarce isn't a matter of dispute. There have been many approaches and initiatives designed to redress the labor shortage, from technical approaches that would invest in artificial intelligence to augment human expertise to educational initiatives designed to inspire rising generations to look toward a career in cybersecurity.
Scholarships for certifications.
At CyCon US we spoke with Jeff Little, Engility's Director of DoD Cyber Business Development, about one initiative his company has undertaken. Engility has partnered with the Center for Cyber Safety and Education, providing two scholarships for transitioning veterans leaving military duty by December. The program will give the veterans certifications related to their service experience.
It's worth noting that the scholarships lead to certifications, and not academic degrees, and that's by design, as Engility believes there's a gap here they can usefully address. Little explained that they find certifications valuable, especially when they're answering a Request for Proposals from a Federal customer. There's a shortage of qualified professionals, he said, and that shortage is growing.
He described the program's details as follows:
"The Engility CyberWarrior Scholarship is a program created to help returning military veterans reenter the civilian workforce by offering cybersecurity certification training scholarships. Many veterans will find they perform jobs in the military that are very similar to ones in the civilian sector. Veterans are positioned very well to help the nation hone its cyber workforce, and bringing their experience and skills to bear is a great fit.
"Our global security relies on having a pipeline of highly skilled, dedicated cyber experts to ensure that our country is prepared as we move into the future. As more and more devices and systems are connected to the internet, the need for cybersecurity increases. Every day we read about new security breaches and new vulnerabilities. The demand for cyber professionals is outstripping the supply, so this Scholarship will help start to narrow the gap.
"The program focuses on six (ISC)² certifications: Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP®), Certified Secure Software Lifecycle Professional (CSSLP®), Certified Cloud Security Professional (CCSP®), HealthCare Information Security and Privacy Practitioner (HCISPP®), Certified Authorization Professional (CAP®) and Systems Security Certified Practitioner (SSCP®)."
Applying for the scholarship.
Applications opened in October, and the deadline for this cycle is November 30th. Engility expects to make its selections shortly before Christmas, around December 21st. The competition is open to members of both Active and Reserve components, who may apply here.
How the field looks to an engineering services provider.
Engility specializes in technical services: high-end engineering offerings that serve large, ACAT-1 cyber programs. Among the things they do is provide training and certification for the cyber mission forces. As Little looked at the challenges those forces face, he agreed with much other expert opinion: the sector needs to take seriously the need to architect in better solutions, engineering for resilience up-front.