Wanted: Approximately 10,000 – 20,000 young Americans with the Information Technology skills necessary to safeguard America’s massive digital computer infrastructure. Openings available for Cybersecurity Practitioners, Researchers and General “Cyber Warriors.” Positions require elite “hacking” skills, strong ability to “think outside the box,”and a keen understanding of the nation’s security systems and their vulnerabilities. Excellent starting salaries.
Okay, it’s true, we just made up that description, but it’s a fact that the need for IT specialists to defend the Internet and our nation’s communications infrastructure has never been greater, with President Obama identifying Cybersecurity as one of the most serious economic and national security challenges faced by our nation. It’s also true that the job market for Cybersecurity experts is wide open – by one estimate, the U.S. needs at least 20,000 such cyber-specialists, and currently has but 1,000 positions filled.
So, what exactly is a Cybersecurity Specialist? A recent article in USA Today describes the job as “a new class of tech professional specifically trained to battle data thieves, online scammers and cyberspies.”
The demand for these “cyber crime fighters” is so great that not only are schools and businesses intently focused on “cyber” training programs, but the federal government, in collaboration with education officials, military contractors and businesses have even begun sponsoring “American Idol”-like competitions, such as the U.S. Cyber Challenge, which aims to find and recruit 10,000 talented young “security warriors” through intricate “hacking” contests and other tests of security mettle.
ATE programs are at the forefront of this “cyber movement,” with specialty programs including:
•CyberWatch, a consortium of Mid-Atlantic colleges focused on cybersecurity training which has grown by nearly 66 percent in each of the last two years, according to the program’s co-director, Casey O’Brien, noting, “People are starting to get that the success of these programs is absolutely critical to the future of our country.”
•The Cyber Security Education Consortium (CSEC), which comprises five educational institutions throughout Oklahoma and major population centers in neighboring states to develop strategies to help secure cyberspace.
•The Center for Systems Security and Information Assurance Cyber Defense Training Center (CSSIA), founded in 2003 partners with industry and academia to help students develop cyber-security skills.
Think about this for a minute: The vast majority of our day-to-day lives are steeped in computer data, and much of our country’s infrastructure – from banking and financial systems to energy grids to medical records to telecommunications – is reliant on computer systems. In fact, in this week’s ATETV Episode, Todd Matthews of EMC Corporation – one of the world’s largest data storage companies – commented that “More digital data will be created in the next two years than was produced in the last ten.”
Wouldn’t you want to know that all this information was safe in the hands of tomorrow’s cyber-security experts?