The dearth of skilled cyber professionals is frequently bemoaned among U.S. cyber experts. In an effort to recruit and retain talent, the private sector and government agencies have sponsored cyber wargames designed to find and tap the next generation of skilled cyber talent.
This years Collegiate Cyber Defense Competition drew teams from 83 colleges and universities, and Boeing hired seven contestants to help secure the company’s internal networks.
“Our goal is to increase the opportunities for young cyber experts to exercise and demonstrate their passion for this career field,” said Alan Greenberg, Boeing’s technical director of cyber and information solutions.
Another recent competition is the U.S. Cyber Challenge, which is run in part by the SANS Institute, with the ambitious goal of finding “10,000 cybersecurity top guns.”
“We’re building the pipeline that will produce our future cyber guardians,” said Alan Paller, research director of SANS Institute.
The number of university programs that target cybersecurity have also grown significantly in recent months. Two-year programs that participate in CyberWatch, a cybersecurity consortium of Mid-Atlantic colleges and universities, has grown by 66 percent in the past two years, according to Casey O’Brien, CyberWatch’s co-director.
Initiatives have also started at the grade-school level as well. The school districts of Baltimore County and Howard County in Maryland have launched a pilot program offering a career track in information assurance. According to Davina Pruitt-Mentle, CyberWatch curriculum and outreach director, cyber scenarios are being worked into the K-12 curriculum.