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Cybersecurity professionals can make $100k+ a year without a college degree

Jun 22

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The United States has approximately 700,000 cybersecurity job openings. That’s creating a shortage of qualified personnel who can protect places like hospitals, 911 call centers and schools from cyberattacks originating in places like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

“We only have 69 skilled cybersecurity workers for every 100 that employers demand. This means we are stepping onto the digital battlefield missing nearly a third of our army,” Will Markow, vice president of Lightcast, said during a recent House subcommittee hearing on the matter.  

The shortage could get worse. 61% of employees in the field said they’re burned out from years of addressing major incidents. So, the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection is working on a bipartisan basis to create a talent pipeline.  

“It is clear that the shortage of talent and burnout are issues that both the public and private sector face,” Chairman Andrew Garbarino, R-N.Y., said during the hearing on Thursday, June 22.

The witnesses agreed that prospects don’t need a four year college degree, which they hope will be a selling point. According to the Education Data Initiative, a university’s average cost is now $35,000 a year including books, supplies and daily living expenses. 

Retired Marine Colonel Chris Starling is an executive director at the nonprofit NPower that offers an eight month course for less than $15,000. When students complete their certification, they are starting jobs that pay an average annual salary of $63,000. With three years of experience, they can get a job that pays more than $100,000. 

“I believe that somehow in this country if you don’t have a college degree, you’re somehow stigmatized. That somehow you may not be as smart as somebody who has a college degree,” Rep. Carlos Gimenez, R-Fla., said. 

In April, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified about the bureau’s need to hire cybersecurity professionals. He is asking Congress for $63 million to fill 192 positions. 

“To give you a sense of what we’re up against, if each one of the FBI’s cyber agents and intel analysts focused exclusively on the China threat, Chinese hackers would still outnumber FBI cyber personnel by at least 50 to one,” Wray said. 

During Thursday’s hearing, there were multiple proposals made to address the current shortage. First, businesses need to stop requiring multiple years of experience and specialized endorsements for entry-level positions. There was also a suggestion to create a cybersecurity academy modeled on the nation’s fire academy

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The United States has approximately 700,000 cybersecurity job openings. That’s creating a shortage of qualified personnel who can protect places like hospitals, 9-1-1 call centers, and schools from cyberattacks originating in places like China, Russia, Iran and North Korea.

 

Will Markow, Vice President, Lightcast: “We only have 69 skilled cybersecurity workers for every 100 that employers demand. This means we are stepping onto the digital battlefield missing nearly a third of our army.” 

 

The shortage could get worse, 61 percent of employees in the field say they’re burned out from years of addressing major incidents. So the House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Protection is working on a bipartisan basis to create a talent pipeline.  

 

Chairman Andrew Garbarino (R-NY): “It is clear that the shortage of talent and burnout are issues that both the public and private sector face.”

 

During a hearing, the witnesses agreed that prospects don’t need a four year college degree, which according to the education data initiative now costs an average 35,000 a year including books, supplies, and daily living expenses. They hope that will be a selling point. A retired Marine Colonel who now works at a non-profit says his organization offers an eight month course for less than $15,000. When students complete their certification, they’re getting starting jobs that pay an average salary of 63,000 a year. With three years of experience, they can get a job that pays more than 100,000. 

 

Rep. Gimenez: “I believe that that somehow this country, if you don’t have a college degree, you somehow stigmatize it somehow you may not be as smart as as somebody who has a college degree.”

 

In April, FBI Director Christopher Wray testified about the Bureau’s need to hire cybersecurity professionals. He is asking congress for 63 million dollars to hire 192 positions. 

 

FBI Director Christopher Wray date: “To give you a sense of what we’re up against, if each one of the FBI’s cyber agents and intel analysts focused exclusively on the China threat, Chinese hackers would still outnumber FBI Cyber personnel by at least 50 to 1,”

 

During the House hearing, one witness made a suggestion to help fix the shortage. Don’t require five years of experience and specialized endorsements for entry level jobs. Because that doesn’t match. Straight from DC, I’m Ray Bogan. 

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