Cybersecurity is one of the most in-demand professions in the world. Yet it’s estimated there will be a global shortage of almost three million cybersecurity professionals by 2022. And most experts say the gap in supply and demand will only continue to widen. This will have a significant impact on public and private employers in the coming years; Cisco recently reported that 31% of organizations have already encountered cyber-attacks on their operating systems.
With cyber attacks becoming both more prevalent and sophisticated, and demand for cyber professionals increasing, why is there such a shortage in cybersecurity? The answer: a lack of highly trained and skilled employees.
The Skills Gap
Employers are in critical need of cybersecurity professionals, but they need more than the average IT professional. They need highly skilled individuals who can design secure systems, find vulnerabilities in software and networks, and have the ability to adapt to ever-changing technology.
“We must design, build, and deliver integrated capabilities for the future fight — spanning cyberspace, electronic warfare, and information operations.”Gen. Paul Nakasone, commander of U.S. Cyber Command
The U.S. Army is all too familiar with the wide reaching implications of cybersecurity threats. The vast array of its sophisticated weapons and aviation systems all rely on networked, computer-based databases. The challenge the army faces is defending these databases from consistently evolving attacks from adversaries looking to exploit the vulnerabilities.
“Technology is ever changing, national security threats are ever changing. And for us to be effective, we need to be as agile, ideally one step ahead of that. We’ve adapted to that next threat,”Anne Neuberger, a senior NSA official.
To combat the perpetual skills gap, the 780th Military Intelligence (MI) Brigade (Cyber) partnered with the University of Maryland Baltimore County (UMBC) Training Centers to design a Tool Developers Qualification Course (TDQC).
TDQC is a 9-month training program consisting of both formal classroom training and interactive class projects. Chief Warrant Officer Tony Leota sees the program as a way to take Soldiers with little to no computer programming knowledge and train them to become certified cyberspace capability developers. The skills learned will enable Soldiers to develop solutions, tools, and software to aid in the fight against the most challenging problems in cyberspace.
“I didn’t know a whole lot of programming before I started the course. TDQC taught me everything I needed to know. It was a great pace, really great teachers. The assignments are very challenging. They push you to become a better programmer.”Cybersecurity specialist Spc. Grant Ward
So far, there have been over 75 graduates from the course. The seventh iteration of the course is currently in session at Columbia, MD.
Closing the Gap with Expanded Educational Offerings
Rob Joyce, senior cyber advisor to the director of the National Security Agency said, “There is a growing gap between what we have and what we need. We’ve got to make systemic changes to meet that gap.” Investing in educational programs for current employees will be critical to creating those systemic changes. Organizations need to foster environments that encourage continuous training and advancement for employees already in their IT departments.
Group training can be an effective and economical method to quickly assure competency and consistency of knowledge and skills within an organization or department. By leveraging UMBC’s strength in Instructional Systems Development, UMBC Training Centers has the ability to develop programs for internal delivery by facilitating an organization’s own trainers, developing online training, or customizing on-site courses designed for your specific needs.
If you’re interested in learning how individual or group training programs can help transform your workplace, go to https://www.umbctraining.com/training-for-groups/.
Learn more about how the Army and UMBC Training Centers are training tool developers for the future cybersecurity fight.