As recent data breaches have shown, cyber attacks are particularly threatening to government entities handling sensitive data like Social Security numbers. Unfortunately, state agencies struggle to hire cybersecurity professionals.
The cause of this staffing shortage? There simply aren’t enough qualified people for the job[i]. Thankfully, change is in the air.
To attract skilled cybersecurity experts, some state governments are expanding IT internships for high school and college students. Many are offering more money, telecommuting jobs and flexible hours in hopes of landing the right candidates.
Some challenges states face in the hiring of skilled IT staff include:
- Recruiting new workers to fill vacant IT slots
- Offering competitive salaries to entice skilled professionals from the private sector
- Filling senior-level IT positions quickly
- Retaining skilled employees and minimizing turnover
One novel approach is “cross-training” talent: state governments have begun rotating cybersecurity employees through different positions to improve skills quickly. Like an endurance athlete cross-training with weight lifts and short sprints, exposure to different kinds of threats, networks, technologies and security strategies rapidly builds expertise among IT professionals and provides meaningful training for young hires. Cross-training can help improve retention while bolstering a state’s digital security apparatus.
Aspiring cybersecurity professionals should explore options in the public sector. Government employment offers a meaningful, multidisciplinary approach to continuing your cybersecurity journey.
I’m compensated by University of Phoenix for this blog. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own.