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Wanted: Cybersecurity Pros


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ARINC Inc.'s Yun Chong and John Belcher

ARINC Inc. Vice President of Network Services Yun Chong, left, with Chairman and CEO John Belcher, in the company's operations center. Belcher says his company will need to hire 200 to 300 cybersecurity experts in coming years to serve commercial and military clients.

Credit: Jed Kirschbaum / The Baltimore Sun

Demand for a cybersecurity workforce is heavy, as U.S. federal agencies, contractors, and technology companies vie for a limited pool of qualified employees. A Booz Allen Hamilton study on national cybersecurity readiness found that federal scholarship programs designed to fill government openings produced just 120 graduates annually, when about 1,000 are needed yearly across federal agencies.

Meanwhile, federal officials announced a $10 million grant to establish a National Cyber Security Center of Excellence at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which would enable public-private collaboration on digital security standards.

There are abundant challenges inherent in building a cybersecurity workforce, especially for the federal government's intelligence and defense agencies and the private contractors that collaborate with them. Finding people with sufficient skills is only part of the solution, as they also must be able to qualify for a security clearance. This translates into competition between government agencies and the private sector for experienced cybersecurity specialists.

From The Baltimore Sun
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